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[P]
The Rule of Unintended Consequences

By circletimessquare in Internet
Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:17:00 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

I am reading Wired and Slashdot, and there is currently a heavy load of FUD about music companies via the RIAA suing P2P users and Kazaa. I suddenly feel the need to rant. Perhaps it's guilt for stealing from Bertelsmann. Not really. It's about the rule of unintended consequences.


I am not going to feed you the "information wants to be free" technoanarchist/ maoist party line.

I am not going to give you the "I don't see what I am doing wrong!" see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil cop out.

But I am going to say this: step back. Look at the bigger picture. Look at history. Look at how it operates. Look how technology redefines a landscape- the economic one, the social one, and even the moral one. Look how unintended consequences rule the day. The Gun. Point and click killing for anyone. Nuclear Fission. Insane amounts of energy from a pound of matter and a hundred thousand year half life headache. Cloning? Technology meets history and no one knows for sure what shakes out.

It is not like the original ubergeeks sat around a U Berkeley lab setting up DARPANet in the 1960s and said "Hey! Let's invent an infinitely superior music distribution model that no one can make money off of!"

But that is exactly what they did.

The gears of historical forces no one can control are turning. A spigot is being opened up on a root human desire that dates to the time when we sat around a campfire and beat a drum all night long. Copyright and Intellectual Property laws will not control and channel this root human desire. The spigot of the Internet opening up on the root human desire for music will blow these brittle laws into a million pieces and redefine the laws, not visa versa. What is illegal and vaguely amoral today, will become as routine and guiltless as going to an ATM tomorrow.

Remember the world before ATMs? Didn't think so. So someday soon will people speak of the age of driving to a store and browsing and standing in line to buy a CD from a weak selection for $20 for one song you might want. Remember standing in line for a teller before the banks closed at 3 PM so you could get $100 out of checking?

I ran across someone called "Bic Runga" the other day in a glimpse of a magazine. She's a Chinese/ Maori lounge singer from Malaysia. I live in New York, and it's midnight. OK, let's give it a listen. I downloaded a good segment of her career from Kazaa by 2 AM.

How can you improve upon that listener experience? You can't. Look at the value I received for the effort exerted. I can browse the entire canon of popular music on my whim as if I were a god of contemporary pop music history, conjuring the most arcane stuff out of thin air in an instant.

Look at the beating heart of the human desire for music. Look at the slight moral qualm of dissing an evil multinational corporation. Push comes to shove.

If Kazaa gets body slammed by the RIAA, another file sharing app will pop up, most certainly. And just like Kazaa was harder to kill than Napster, because it was decentralized, the next P2P app will be even harder to kill, because it will obfuscate IP addresses too. It's an arms race no music company can win.

And why?

Because they are not fighting evil amoral artist-ripping-off music pirates. They are fighting the very information distribution model of the Internet itself and a root human desire for music suddenly exposed by it. Remember? The DARPANet thingy that was invented to stay alive and resist being shut down even during a nuclear holocaust? Remember? The first time you heard a song and it drove you crazy to dance/ to cry/ to mosh?

Explosive mixture here. Music companies are doomed.

Music companies are an economic distribution model. Supply and demand. The Internet is an information distribution model. Infinite supply, infinite demand. There is no economic model in it, so there is no money in it.

Not all discoveries mean good things for everyone. Just ask the Aztecs or Incans. Ask them about morality.

Where is it written in the Bible or the Constitution that someone, somewhere, has to make money off music? Where is it written? Why should I care if some big stupid music company goes belly up?

I think that before the vinyl recording, people enjoyed music and made music just fine.

Artists will make music whether they are promised a penny or a billion. The passion for music, to create it, does not depend upon how much money you will make. Just because the next up-and-coming artist won't become the next multidecimillioniare JayZ or P Diddy doesn't mean they won't try to make music. The desire to create music is a craven desire just as strong as the greed for the all mighty buck.

And no one said that somebody standing between the artist and me, the listener, needs to turn a buck. Radio or MTV or an Internet portal or a magazine will tell me who I might want to listen to, and these media channels will make money promoting concerts and selling ads. Artists will still get known, word of mouth will still spread. You don't need a music distribution company for that.

You can't kill the Internet. You can kill a company. Music companies pumping millions into legal actions is just the death throes of a dying dinosaur. Good riddance. They can scream all they want. They can't fight historical obsolescence.

"Video killed the Radio Star," 1980.

"The Internet killed Tommy Motola," 2000.

Scream Copyright, scream Intellectual Property. Who cares? None of that beats a worldwide, millions-strong force of music hungry pimply teenagers with no money to burn and an Internet connection.

Death to music.

Long live music.

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The Rule of Unintended Consequences | 301 comments (268 topical, 33 editorial, 0 hidden)
If there is no (2.66 / 6) (#3)
by starsky on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 03:41:36 AM EST

revenue stream for the artist, why will they make music. This 'they will always make music' thing is bullshit. To alot of people its a job.

Plus, how will older guys get to see hot teenage girls in 3 minute states of undress in the future?

so (4.33 / 3) (#5)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 03:44:04 AM EST

so what was music like before the vinyl record??? i don't get your position???
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]
Limited (4.75 / 4) (#17)
by chigaze on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:18:20 AM EST

Before the ability to record, music was limited. There were few professional musicians and those required sponsorship by the wealthy to subsist. The rest of music was whatever you performed yourself and that was typically very limited.

Musician as profession has really only become an option since the advent of recording and broadcast.


-- Stop Global Whining
[ Parent ]
hmmm (4.00 / 1) (#32)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:54:33 AM EST

first you have to say today's music is really that varied.

then you have to say that music before recording existed was very limited.

both assumptions i question.

i think music has grown because of recording, but in quantity, not necessarily quality. 2000 techno songs does not make a bach. and a street musician playing outside bach's window in his day can be guaranteed to be playing some sort of renaissance version of european country music or something, and it will be unlike anything heard today.

but just because it's not in the historical record because there WAS NO historical record to record it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

and just because you can make 3000 different remixes today of the same song doesn't mean there is more quality and variation, just a lot more of the same.

C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

dude you are seriously on drugs (3.00 / 2) (#37)
by starsky on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 05:04:18 AM EST

there is shitloads of every type of music out there - just because there is *alot* of shit and it is that which gets the airplay doesn't make this not true.

[ Parent ]
Really? (none / 0) (#42)
by vile on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 05:30:07 AM EST

I can name most types of music. Can you? Not to troll you, but think for a moment. Why does Bach exist? Or Beethoven? Recording has been around for a long time.. we're now just in a different format. Period. Who profits from Beethoven's work? When did he die again? Where can he be heard? Name a station. I don't have a lot more to add to this conversation other than:

1) Recording has been around for a LONG time.

2) Music has been around longer.. and will be around many, many many many years longer than you or I will exist.

3) The RIAA? Dude.. Industry. They profit off of Artists' work because of a monopoly over them. In this age, artists can make their own profit. Period.

4) blah

I think I'm done ranting now.. and I don't wanna argue with you.. but open up a little bit? At the very least, try thinking objectively to your own point of view.. just like you do mine, probably, and most definitely the author of this article.. think of yourself in the same fashion.. I tend not to do that, but at least I try. Peace...

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
I can hear Betthoven (5.00 / 1) (#43)
by starsky on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 05:33:41 AM EST

on Classic FM.

[ Parent ]
Thank you. (n/t) (3.00 / 1) (#46)
by vile on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 05:41:48 AM EST

:)

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
Bach and Beethoven (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by chigaze on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:19:40 AM EST

In my city (Edmonton, Alberta) I can hear Bach and Beethoven on CBC, CKUA, and CJSR.

Of the above CKUA has a library of over 70,000 records and CDs covering every genre of music you can name and they play all of them.


-- Stop Global Whining
[ Parent ]
Things haven't changed (5.00 / 1) (#47)
by pyramid termite on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 05:42:33 AM EST

Before the ability to record, music was limited.

By lack of recording technology.

There were few professional musicians and those required sponsorship by the wealthy to subsist.

Which is still true today.

Now that the ability to record belongs to anyone with a computer, one doesn't need to make a living at it to be able to do it.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Think about what you wrote... (none / 0) (#147)
by needless on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 08:54:43 PM EST

There were few professional musicians and those required sponsorship by the wealthy to subsist.

Hmm, kind of like record labels?



[ Parent ]
Before the ability to record music was omnipresent (none / 0) (#189)
by subversion on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 06:08:37 AM EST

Before the ability to record, music was limited. There were few professional musicians and those required sponsorship by the wealthy to subsist. The rest of music was whatever you performed yourself and that was typically very limited.

Before the ability to record, I'd say... nope.

Read any of the histories of American folk music (both folk and blues, and the very early forms of jazz.)  Early early gospel/spirituals?  Religious chants (music used to be nearly all centered around religious ritual).  Listen to Lomax's field recordings from around the world (yes, these are recordings, but generally of people in places where recording wasn't available).  Hell, go to places today where there isn't a widespread availability of recording technology, and you know what you'll find?

People making music.  Because there is a need in the human being to make and to hear music.  Ask almost any musician why they make music, and I bet that somewhere in their answer the phrase "Because I enjoy it" will appear.  Yes, even from Britney, or Creed, or one of the rappers who admit they're in it for the money.

Was it a professional option before then?  No, because EVERYONE made music, and odds were you weren't that much better than your neighbor.  But musician as a profession the way you're thinking of it is about as viable today as it was then; the people who work their asses off playing standards at events for minimal rewards, and those supported by patrons.  The rest of the musicians out there are working day jobs.
 

If you disagree, reply, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]

Music (4.00 / 1) (#7)
by vile on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 03:47:44 AM EST

.... has long existed prior to the RIAA.. you should read up on your history. Hell, it's even common sense. I'll still mod you up, though, simply because your statement will provide great conversation. ;)

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
Why will artitsts make music (4.42 / 7) (#12)
by Random Number Generator Troll on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:08:56 AM EST

Because they love making music? And if they don't love making their music, why the fuck do you want to listen to it?
I realise that in your case your choice of music is an extension of your wardrobe, but it's not the same for everyone.

[ Parent ]
Yeah (2.00 / 5) (#18)
by starsky on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:21:40 AM EST

and people who make cars only do it because they love it so lets just have 15 hobbyists making enough cars for everyone in the world. That's a good idea, right?

Just because some NME pseudo-intellectual tossers want to elevate the production of music into some incredible supernatural feat doesn't mean that it is.

[ Parent ]

ummm (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:32:47 AM EST

what rngt said applies to guys making rap in their basement, not only string quartets reliving chamber music. are you calling the next eminem a "pseudo-intellectual tosser"? lol ;-P
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]
No (3.20 / 5) (#22)
by starsky on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:37:24 AM EST

students who think eminems lyrics are some deep musings on the ins and outs of street life are pseudo-intellectual tossers.

[ Parent ]
ok... (1.00 / 1) (#24)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:40:02 AM EST

and some people who post to kuro5hin think everything they say is a witty retort, when they are really just being reflexively negative instead of adding to the debate.

get my point?

go away troll.

lol ;-P

C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

k (1.66 / 3) (#25)
by starsky on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:42:06 AM EST

I put someone elses point down, I'm a troll, you put my points down, you're not. thats right, right?

I've really gotta do some work now, thanks for your input.

[ Parent ]

just (none / 0) (#30)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:47:49 AM EST

just don't be so negative, be constructive, that's all. it's easy to use these meta sites for ego masturbation and no more.

see? positive feedback. ;-)
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

Sweet, sweet irony <n/t> (4.00 / 4) (#31)
by carbon on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:49:43 AM EST



Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
he's being negative (4.00 / 3) (#34)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:58:48 AM EST

all that this guy writes so far is negative. why should i like that? he can disagree with me all he wants, but i reserve the right to call him a troll if it is all negative, and not constructive at all.

show me a positive statement he has made so far in this thread, and then the irony will stick.

it is easy to be negative all the time. it is difficult and more useful to be constructive.

see? i said something positive and constructive. there's some irony. ;-P
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

Positive point (3.50 / 2) (#38)
by vile on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 05:05:51 AM EST

You're replying to his comments. You have read his point of view. You have countered his point of view. People have read both sides. Sounds pretty constructive to me.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
yes (5.00 / 2) (#26)
by Random Number Generator Troll on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:42:13 AM EST

While I think he is the Robbie Williams of rap and also an utter twat, Eminem is undoubtedly an excellent lyricist.

[ Parent ]
Agreed (5.00 / 3) (#28)
by starsky on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:44:18 AM EST

Robbie Williams is the twat of twats.

[ Parent ]
Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by vile on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 05:03:15 AM EST

Many people don't listen to the lyrics... many listen to the sound.. the lyrics are definitely excellent.. no doubt, most definitely improved by Dre's guidance.. Eminem fan.. kinda.. but not really.. just someone who can appreciate the quality of his ability to put together lyrics in a fashion that can impress people. The fact that we're even talking about this deserves some props.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
I tried that once (3.00 / 1) (#79)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 11:37:00 AM EST

I tried listening to Rap music as sound rather than words (trying to consider the voice as another wordless instrument, like you have to do in a lot of Death Metal where it's so guttural you can't understand a thing).

It doesn't work. Most rappers' voices don't sound good at all or complement the music in any way, and the "phat beats" themselves are hideous crap compared to what even the worst techno artist could lay down.

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

Nah (4.00 / 1) (#65)
by twistedfirestarter on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 08:29:48 AM EST

his first stuff was good, but now it's just self aggrrandizing crap about how good he is, about how hard it is to be a multi million rapper (weep). Everything he's done since MM sux0rz.

[ Parent ]
I have yet (none / 0) (#70)
by Galion on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 09:39:19 AM EST

to meet someone who thinks Eminem is intellectual ;) In fact, in my experience, most Eminem fans wouldn't know how to spell intellectual, let alone label themselves as such.

[ Parent ]
You didn't read (none / 0) (#183)
by Gully Foyle on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 05:30:12 AM EST

any of the British arts press when Marshall Mathers came out over here then?

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

No, but I am intrigued (none / 0) (#207)
by Galion on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 10:53:37 AM EST

Who said what?
I have no sig
[ Parent ]
Can't find any links right now (none / 0) (#255)
by Gully Foyle on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 08:27:06 AM EST

At the time Private Eye did a Pseud's Corner with a bunch of quotes from the broadsheet press comparing him to Mozart amongst others.

While looking for links, I did find this however:

"In its own subtle way, "White Christmas" is a musical gesture as aggressive as "Anarchy in the UK" or anything on Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP. Listening to the song's lulling, maudlin, immemorial strains, we hear something more than a seasonal standard: the toughest punk anthem ever to masquerade as a Christmas carol.
JODY ROSEN
Observer"

Not entirely relevant, but a good example of the form.

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

Cheers (none / 0) (#262)
by Galion on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 02:02:22 PM EST

I am yet again amazed by how stupid people can be. Made my day :P
I have no sig
[ Parent ]
Not so much an Eminem "fan"... (none / 0) (#246)
by supine on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 08:34:27 PM EST

...but i like what he does. I'd call myself an intellectual too.

But one counter example does not an arguement make...

marty


--
"No GUI for you! Use lynx!!!, Come back, One year!" -- /avant
[ Parent ]

no (4.80 / 5) (#23)
by Random Number Generator Troll on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:38:51 AM EST

Some people, me included, make music as a hobby, and like me many will go on making it wether or not they ever make a penny or get any fame for it. NME pseudo-intellectual tossers have nothing to do with it, its just a hobby.
Go and make your own music, its really not that difficult if you have a good idea of what you really like.

[ Parent ]
Yes (2.25 / 4) (#27)
by starsky on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:43:34 AM EST

but has your music got mass market appeal - I guess not. So if a zillion people want to buy Britney Spears latest album, why shouldn't she be able to sell it without A.Geek downloading it for free?

[ Parent ]
Britney Spears (5.00 / 3) (#41)
by rdskutter on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 05:27:03 AM EST

The world does not need Britney Spears. She is a puppet of the Music Inudstry. Britney represents a guaranteed return on investment for the record companies. They know that her records will sell. They may not be very imaginative or diverse but they do appeal to a large target audience and they are well marketed.

Other artsits who make music because they like to make music and not because it will make them money are not guaranteed to make a good return on investment. This is not becuase their music is crap, it is because it won't appeal to most paying consumers. Their target audience will be a lot smaller.

Kazaa and other P2P apps are the perfect distribution model for this kind of music. All that's missing is any kind of payment for the artist, and this is where the longest flamewar in the world starts.


Yanks are like ICBMs: Good to have on your side, but dangerous to have nearby. - OzJuggler
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.[ Parent ]

I'm glad (1.50 / 2) (#48)
by starsky on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 05:50:43 AM EST

you've decided that no-one can listen to Britney Spears, and the 27 billion people who like her music should listen to whatever folky shit you want them to listen to.

[ Parent ]
I never said that (3.00 / 1) (#50)
by rdskutter on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 06:18:16 AM EST

People can listen to Britney Spears if they want to.

You just called The Flaming Lips, Idlewild and Bare Naked Ladies "folky shit".


Yanks are like ICBMs: Good to have on your side, but dangerous to have nearby. - OzJuggler
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.[ Parent ]

Well, to reverse the question... (5.00 / 1) (#187)
by tekue on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 06:00:35 AM EST

Why should she be able to sell it without A. Geek downloading it for free? Because "it isn't fair"? Life ain't fair. If someone has the ability and inclination do download her album, why shouldn't he be able to? Because she wants to make money off it? I'd like to be able to make money off lots of things, but I'm just unable to. Tough luck.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]
Making music is nothing like making cars (5.00 / 2) (#64)
by twistedfirestarter on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 08:26:47 AM EST

Well, making shit music is. But good music needs to be new and different and creative. It's a fundamentally different process. Can you be trained to construct a car? Yes. Can you be trained to make brilliant, moving pop? Don't think so.

[ Parent ]
Wrong angle (5.00 / 2) (#68)
by melia on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 09:30:18 AM EST

But good music needs to be new and different and creative. It's a fundamentally different process.

Yes, it's a fundamentally process - for each artist also. Of course it's true that you can write an amazing tune in 5 minutes and get it recorded on the cheap. But is it true every time? No. Sometimes it takes time and money, that maybe you wouldn't have if you had a 9-5 job.

And anyway, what about designing cars? Are you saying that creativity didn't go into designing a Porsche?
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]

Don't underestimate craft (5.00 / 2) (#110)
by pyramid termite on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:11:03 PM EST

Can you be trained to make brilliant, moving pop?

Probably not, but you can certainly be trained to make mediocre, emotionally shallow pop - the evidence is all around and there's even books that tell you how to do it.

The craft of songwriting isn't that hard to learn. Making it mean something is.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
15 hobbyists couldn't manufacture enough cars. (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by Happy Monkey on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 01:10:12 PM EST

But they could design them. If instead of "15 hobbyists", you had put "anyone who wants to", and if manufacture and distribution of cars was almost free, and if an extensive engineering degree wasn't required to design cars, and if car manufacture wasn't regulated by the government for safety, then the analogy might be appropriate.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Yeah! (5.00 / 1) (#112)
by pyro9 on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:16:11 PM EST

People make (as in manufacture) cars for money to buy food. OTOH, many people do design cars purely for the fun of it (you may confirm that fact by going to any car show). In an ideal world, machines would make cars (and aquire the resources needed to do that) and people would design cars because they love to design cars.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Q? (3.50 / 2) (#61)
by starsky on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 08:02:04 AM EST

I realise that in your case your choice of music is an extension of your wardrobe

How, exactly, do you make your choice of music?

[ Parent ]

internet radio (4.00 / 3) (#78)
by Random Number Generator Troll on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 10:54:10 AM EST

I listen to five or so internet radio stations at work, channel hopping throughout the day. If I like a tune, Winamp tells me what it is, and I go look it up on Amazon or the record company's website and explore avenues of availability. I sure as fuck do *not* get my inspiration from shitty music/style/wank magazines.


[ Parent ]
Not True (5.00 / 7) (#53)
by creo on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 06:51:35 AM EST

My bro is in an indy band, reasonably successful, back home in Aus. They have a fair bit of airplay on JJJ (the only real large national independent radio station) and have put out a CD that I believe did reasonably well. The only money he makes out of the band is from touring and the fact that several of his songs have been used in films - actually those cheques are most of his musical income.

When I asked about money from the CD he laughed his arse off - said that they would never see any cash from sales. It was the way their contract was written and the fact the the record company basically put no PR into the CD at all. However their CD costs just as much (AUD30) as the latest release from Brittney, U2 - whoever. So without the ability to sample tracks, whose going to risk $30 on an unknown band, when they can "play safe" with Brittney or yet another Rolling Stones greatest hits.

He then went on to tell me the story of another Perth band that was even more successful in Oz - Jebidiah. The year that their CD did very well, each of the guys made less than the dole. So your premise that people do it to make cash is in the main just plain wrong. Most indy bands (and most talented bands started there) do it for love - at least thats what I see from my view into the industry. Very few bands start by getting together and saying "cool - lets form a band to make money". That may be a dream, but its not the reason why most people start. Sometimes record companies start bands like this, but their shelf life is limited and the "band" is usually pretty faces with not a great deal of musical talent, although certain individuals have managed to blossom from these starts.

As long as there are people like my bro, who play for love and if they hit the bigtime, then so be it, there will always be music, good music.

If you're interested his band is called Cartman, and their CD is Go!. If you like melodic indy pop, give it a listen.

[ Parent ]

Dude, no offense... (5.00 / 1) (#179)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 04:58:29 AM EST

but this is why Australia sucks. Your brother got cheated on the deal. Who'd he sign with? Some fucking Australian branch of Vagrant or something?

Good indie labels shoulder the burden of production and normally split the profits 50/50 with the band after costs. This normally applies to other merchandise as well, with the band being able to keep all money made on tour (good clubs usually let the band take in 80 to 100% of the door - the real money, as everybody knows, is in the drinks). There are usually no loans to be repaid, and PR is normally kept to a minimum (unless you happen to be a darling of the month, in which case various 3rd party magazines and websites will happily do all the PR for you). It's the standard deal offered by Touch and Go (and their "subsidaries" - hee), Jade Tree, Dischord, and any other mid-level (Matador being the Big Leagues) indie label you'd care to name.

Anyway, my point is is that depending on what your definition of "reasonably well" is, your brother should have seen anywhere between $30,000 to $100,000, maybe more (within the space of the first fiscal year) on record sales alone.

He's not still with the company, is he? If he is, I'd hire a lawyer and try to renegotiate the contract. You wouldn't know what his split on the music publishing company is, would you?

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

Why would we make music for free? (4.66 / 9) (#55)
by MugginsM on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:18:40 AM EST


Well I'm only an amateur musician. I play for myself. I love sitting playing the guitar (or bass) making up little tunes and bits. Occasionally I get together and jam with friends. It's fun. Sometimes it's a /lot/ of fun.

I'm getting better. Occasionally something'll come out that I imagine other people would maybe like to listen to.

If that happens a lot. Sure. I'll stick em online.

Maybe I'll even get good.

Make up some CDs. Get a friend to draw some cool artwork. Stick em in the local music stores for a few dollars apiece.

Might even make some pocket money.

It's all good.

Money? Living? I have a 9-5 job. I do less fun things to pay the rent.

For me, making music *is* the reward for making music. I imagine a lot of people feel similar. I also get a buzz when other people enjoy my stuff.

And with the internet for distribution, I can't see how you or I could lose. You get free music. I get the joy of being appreciated. With maybe an occasional donation to help pay the cost of running a site.

The only way I can see of losing is if we lose the internet as a means of music sharing. Then I can continue to play music for myself. But you don't get to listen to it, and I don't get the buzz of being appreciated.

But professionaly produced music (real recording studio, competent producer and audio technicians) sounds better, you say. Who will pay for that?

Well, I don't know. But I can say that I could produce, at home, using only my PC (with an extra $50 sound card) something equal to pretty much anything produced in the 1960s and '70s. A skilled person who's a little more into that side of thing could probably do a lot better. Maybe I'll find a friend who has audio production as a hobby. Maybe in 10 years, a home PC will have the audio capabilities of a '90s recording studio. It seems likely.

I'll stop now, I'm rambling.  :)

- MugginsM


[ Parent ]

A small problem. (5.00 / 1) (#193)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 06:44:41 AM EST

Professional musicians normally do not keep steady 9-5s. At most, they take on jobs (like bike courier) that can be taken as on again, off again propositions. It's mostly due to the fact that serious musicians spend half the year playing shows and touring, not for the money, but for the exposure.

The art itself is going to suffer too. I seriously doubt some of the better works of the major labels could have been produced if these musicians weren't given free reign in the studio, a fat royalty check so that they wouldn't have to work a 9 to 5, and a generous amount of time to complete their albums (like Wilco's YHF).

I don't understand why so many people think file-sharing is okay. It is, to a certain degree; one could even argue that it's about as innocuous as that old trusty mixtape. But most artists I know do want to get paid for their music, just as most painters I know want to be paid for their paintings and most writers I know want to be paid for their books. A record company (major label or otherwise) is a handy way to make sure that happens. And can you really fault these guys for wanting a bit of cash for their creations?

Sure, your setup is feasible (and has actually been done numerous times, sometimes with great success - listen to some Her Space Holiday) but for the most part, is almost entirely limited to the realm of personal bedroom rock for you and your acquaintances. Musicians want exposure, not for fame or money, but merely because it is a desire of every artist that his work receive as wide an audience as possible. And once again, record companies (both major and indie labels) can be quite good at that, especially if they have a solid PR team backing you up. Once again, nothing wrong with any of this, right?

Yes, making music is its own reward, just like how most theoretical physicists aren't in it for the nerd prestige. It doesn't make it any less of a job, though, especially if one is serious about it. Believe it or not, being a musician is hard work.

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

Why do they do it today then? (4.50 / 4) (#60)
by Znork on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 08:01:34 AM EST

The average artist would make a whole lot more money working a job serving fries with that than they will ever make on a big studio contract (which usually ends up with them owing the company money and being permanently forbidden to ever publish anywhere else, and usually wont get published again through the big studio either). So by that reasoning nobody would be making any music today either.

The RIAA buisness model does not mean the artists get paid. It means the consumers get screwed and the artists get screwed too.

[ Parent ]

Hold on (2.00 / 2) (#69)
by melia on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 09:38:46 AM EST

So by that reasoning nobody would be making any music today either.

I don't understand. Someone who has a day job might not have the freedom to spend their time being creative. In this respect your argument is flawed. Musicians are taking the lower paid job of being "an artist" because it allows them opportunity to be musicians, rather than taking the relatively high paid job of burger boy which does not allow them that opportunity.

It's true the RIAA model is screwing artists. But if we move over to a file-sharing model then the consumers will be screwing the artists more - because they won't be paid at all for their job of "artist".

btw, i'm not assuming your stance is against artists getting paid, just making my point :)
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]

Nope (3.00 / 1) (#111)
by pyramid termite on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:14:20 PM EST

Musicians are taking the lower paid job of being "an artist" because it allows them opportunity to be musicians, rather than taking the relatively high paid job of burger boy which does not allow them that opportunity.

Your typical burger boy works less than 40 hours a week - this still allows plenty of time and opportunity to be a musician.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Burger Boys (3.00 / 1) (#128)
by BonzoESC on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 06:12:57 PM EST

Most Burger Boys who work &lt40 a week go to school. If they work more than 40, they're probably career whopper-floppers.

--

Normally, my sig is an image.
[ Parent ]

You see my point though (none / 0) (#210)
by melia on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 11:46:19 AM EST

Your typical burger boy works less than 40 hours a week - this still allows plenty of time and opportunity to be a musician.

It's still 40 hours that's not being spent making music. Maybe a musician would rather be paid for 40 hours worth of being "creative" than for 40 hours of working in a burger bar. I would.
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]

Yikes (4.00 / 1) (#104)
by LukeyBoy on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 03:10:26 PM EST

Well, most artists will probably make music regardless of money, for the same reason that free software developers will keep making software - it's fun.

Also, I'd guess that the more significant portion of a musician's income comes from touring and live performances. I have a friend in a small local band (in Toronto) that makes hardly anything by selling self-published CDs - but he makes good coin by finding steady jobs playing at bars and clubs.

[ Parent ]

There is one. (5.00 / 2) (#109)
by DarkZero on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:09:32 PM EST

If there is no revenue stream for the artist, why will they make music.

If the RIAA were to crumble, there would still be a revenue stream for the artists, as well as for any middlemen that helped them with their business. They can make money from concerts, from royalties from their music being used in movies, TV shows, and commercials, from donations (Hell, it's giving Gabe and Tycho steady income, why not a musician?), and also from selling merchandise and CDs with lots of extras packed into them (the way that Piro is currently supporting himself, if you replace "CD" with "graphic novel"). The difference is that they'll be artists, instead of enormous media deities that are soaked in money and fanatically worshipped by their followers. Just like webcomic artists, they will only make enough money to give themselves a modest living, and the middlemen that support them, such as Gameskins in Penny Arcade's case and Iron Cat Entertainment in Megatokyo's case, will not rise far above the level of the average small local business, like the comic shop down the street or the Italian restaurant where you get your pizza.

From what I've read, the introduction of television and vinyl records wrecked the media star status of writers in the same way that P2P programs could rid us of the RIAA and the media star status of musicians. The book industry, obviously, is still around, and Stephen King and Michael Crichton are still household names.

[ Parent ]

hey asshole (none / 0) (#168)
by Prophet themusicgod1 on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 01:56:23 AM EST

that's a load of crap and if you've ever spent time with any descent quality musicians you would know that by now. I and pretty much every musician worth their name i've ever associated with would strongly dissagree with you to the point that your very painting of us like this would ammount to the sacrilige of the highest order. and believe me there is some excessively high quality music being created. Hell even RantRadio is all independant based. there are plenty of porn sites out there, and plenty of sports-bars, not to mention live punk concerts or the like where the same things happen. the perverts have many places to get their fix. in the meanwhile, the moment you embrace music as 'your job' - you fail to become a musician to me. You are now a Buisnessman, a Suit - and i will work every cent and grinding grop of blood away until there are is not even a trace of you left.
"I suspect the best way to deal with procrastination is to put off the procrastination itself until later. I've been meaning to try this, but haven't gotten around to it yet."swr
[ Parent ]
Never met any real musicians before, have you? (none / 0) (#190)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 06:22:30 AM EST

Hate to break it to you sonny, but music is a job. Ask any band that's been touring for the past year or slaving over mixer boards for endless nights upon nights. They aren't pleasant experiences. The most trying experiences is listening to yourself over and over again until what you wrote makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, or trudging onto the stage for the umpteenth time to play the exact same set list you've been playing for the last three months. There are people who can play instruments, yes. There are others who make puerile attempts at songcraft. But these folks are not musicians, the same way that grade school art students are not painters.

Of course, it doesn't mean that one doesn't enjoy writing or playing music. I'm sure politicians and programmers enjoy their work as well. Doesn't mean that it's not a job, though. But it's juvenile folks like you, that don't view music as something serious, to be taken like a job, that strike me as likely being the most musically illiterate mob out there. Grow up, huh junior?

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

grown up, been there, done that, bought the Tshirt (none / 0) (#206)
by Prophet themusicgod1 on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 10:50:18 AM EST

no - it is not the case that i don't take music serious - i take it far more serious than you - to the point that to me " selling out " music is by far a worse crime than say, robbing a bank, or possibly physical assault. it's one of the lower tiers, to me. that's how serious it is. it's my life's work at stake, here, and the life's work of *tens of thousands* of others- very few feild's take as much pride in our work as musicians [programmers, are getting to that point..but poleticians are not and have never been- they are either in it for the money, the public appearance or the power. ]
the difference between me and the musician you are imagining is that the musician you imagine would work a 9-5, with an hour of lunch/coffee in between. i would "work" nonstop until i expire, day in, day out-until the rest of my life called... devotion to the point of madness

for the record i had been "slaving over mixer boards for endless nights upon night" until i moved to this city - [not to mention "slaving over windows 98 to get the mixing board programs to work"] and i'm hoping to continue with it once the cash flow increases somewhat. [ having food to eat is a Good Thing ] a lot of my peers have toured, and the rest of the amazing crowd of artists that i've off and on been in contact with would much put the 'grade school art student' and corporate rocker both to shame. there is talent out there beyond your world of shadows and illusions - and we are willing to work for free, because we're musicians - damnit, it's what we enjoy.

I create music because i *like* writing music...mabye even more than that : i write music because i *have* to write music, because unlike the odd independant, there's little to listen to out there, especially not on the radio [at least here, anyways- there is no quality to our radio stations]...and it's better to write / compose / create / mix / edit / clean up / etc than to have to listen to that junk - all those artists want to do is make money, and the quality shows it. Some of the musicians on the radio could probably be great musicians if they just quit trying to make money off of music- the public has little idea what 'music' is beyond "it has electric guitars[in tune, in 4 count beats, with a repetative, predictable style, with an odd solo thrown in- but they wont say that], so it's cool"

i'm sure some of the 'have to play the same thing you've played for the past three much' is a rarity - i've never been, and never will be forced to play anything. i can imagine some of the huge acts may feel like they should at some point, but at any time, there is always room for new material. play some jazz, or something free-er...

"the next time you'll see me may be with a quartet of strings"-tr
"I suspect the best way to deal with procrastination is to put off the procrastination itself until later. I've been meaning to try this, but haven't gotten around to it yet."swr
[ Parent ]
You poor, deluded soul. (none / 0) (#243)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 08:04:09 PM EST

G**k music, too! Oh, Lordy. No, you see my friend, the difference between the musicians I know and you is the simple fact that they take their craft seriously, whilst you seem to have absolutely no idea into what goes into making a successful (READ: SUSTAINABLE) career out of music. Your assumption that I was talking about a 40 hour work week leads me to believe that you've most likely never left the confines of "bedroom rock." Trust me friend, once one starts taking music seriously, like a job (your perception of what makes a job, by the way, is seriously off-kilter; what a horrible work ethic you must have), the results might frighten you a bit. These musicians write music because they want to, yes; but they also want to make money, to make music their career. You can't fault any artist for wanting to make money; I don't see painters giving away their works and writers passing out free copies of their books, you know?

You seem to lack drive, friend, and I'm guessing that you probably don't have any clue whatsoever behind the mechanics of writing, producing, releasing, and promoting an album. Let me assure you that it's a lot of hard, unpleasant work, and it's not all songwriting; there's a lot of field work that's involved that you don't seem to understand. Like the hallowed tour, for example; it's not a matter of tiring of playing the same set lists more so than the tiring experience altogether. I used a fairly grating example so I could give the experience an image; but let me assure you that after the first two months, all tours cease to be fun, no matter what one would do to the setlist.

Hell, you've probably never even played a real, hoenst-to-God show before, have you? There is no room for new material (especially if one is a lead-off act), and one cannot deviate from a structured to more freeform style as easily as you believe, nor can one afford to just "jam" on stage, particularly if one is not very good at it. How would Wilco's fans feel if, all of a sudden, Jeff Tweedy decided to bust out some experimental noise-deconstructionalist jazz? The entire point is to retain the fanbase, possibly add to it, and to expose (and hopefully sell) the new album.

Also, your reliance on the radio also leads me to believe that your tastes are probably detestable. There's a whole world of unheard music out there, ol' chum, and smarter folks have learned to abandon the radio and the Clearchannel monopoly years ago. And your view on the public is clearly flawed as well; hate to break it to you, junior, but the public is a musician (and any artists') life blood. Art is absurd without exposure and feedback, after all. Trust me when I say that the public does have some idea what music is; many of the acts that I am familiar with would not be where they are today if they weren't. Of course, the tone experimentation of some groups like Shellac would not be digestable by many folks out there; but their fanbase is still the public, for chrissakes. Don't be an idiot.

To conclude, you, in addition to being fairly juvenile, are an assclown. Please cease making music; we don't need any more pollution squaking out from the untalented, thank you very much.

Toodles
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

no, i refuse to take that (none / 0) (#251)
by Prophet themusicgod1 on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 01:47:16 AM EST

i have more than enough work ethic,..but i'll go on about that later - i have better things to do, like study, right now...

"The entire point is to retain the fanbase, possibly add to it, and to expose (and hopefully sell) the new album. " this is Not the entire point. what i was saying is the moment you subscribe to this way of thinking you cease to become what i would call a musician. sure there are lots of buisnesspeople that create good music- but the odds are against them...

- i don't give a shit what my fans want - because i know that THEY KNOW that i feel that way - and they still don't care. why dont they care? because i'm good, at least on some level or other, enough for them to listen. if i cease to be good, [or - like now, dissapear to another city for a year] my fans will dissapear. and that won't be a bad thing, because i will still have my music. if a musician wants to be a corporate whore the rest of their life - that's fine with me, so long as they * admit * this...

i have played shows before, though nothing over 1000 yet. and the way you described it was exactly how we played for the most part- ryan wanted to go into a doors song halfway through one of our composed songs...and halfway through that went on to change again. and the crowd went wild!!! [i didn't know the music to that doors song so i had to keep kind of backgroundish...] god i miss saskatoon.
"I suspect the best way to deal with procrastination is to put off the procrastination itself until later. I've been meaning to try this, but haven't gotten around to it yet."swr
[ Parent ]
"I have better things to do..." (none / 0) (#252)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 03:27:06 AM EST

Right there you show your hypocritical nature, or at the very least, betray your youthful ignorance. A true musician has nothing better to do than to work at their music, whether it be through writing songs, booking shows, actively playing said shows, ironing out contracts, working on merchandise, "street" promotion, etc.. That is the work ethic that is required if one wants to actually be a musician, instead of some hobbyist whose creations never leave their four-track.

And it appears that you have missed the point entirely. The point of a show is to retain and grow the fanbase, and possibly promote one's existence to whatever shithole town that one is passing through. One is not a "corporate slave" at these times; it is merely the only real way to make a living through one's passion. It does not mean that one has to cater their musical creations to fit the tastes of the audience they are playing to, more so than it is a means to ensure some sort of income level and to promote oneself to a public that probably does not know who the fuck one is. Once again, this does not mean that one has to bend their artistic integrity, and anyone who thinks like you is more likely than not doomed to obscurity. You might think "so what," but once again, all good art is reactionary, both ways. Art that is not shared is worthless.

And you don't give a shit what your fans want? Good. Most musicians don't. Once again, I never said that one must write music to fit the public's tastes, more so than one must write music to fit their respective, personal needs. However, that does not change my point about the live performance. These aren't rehearsal sessions that one can fuck around with; these are limited time spaces where one must try to tell the public as much as possible what one is about musically. If crapping on stage is your thing, then go ahead and do that; but some bands just can't afford that sort of luxury, whether because their musical style doesn't easily allow for stylistic schizophrenia or just because they don't want to, given the 30 minutes they have on stage before the next act.

I imagine that you will die as a complete unknown, with your little compositions gathering dust next to the scuffed guitar in the attic. At that point, one will have truly failed as a musician, their works never reaching ears other than their own. You have not created art at that instant; all you have done is taken a creative shit and let it stew. Yes, music is a business, just like all art; it's how one manipulates that business that truly separates one from the artists and the "corporate whores." It seems you are not familiar with the world of independent music, and small labels that are directed by taste more so than profits. Trust me, these true artists would be offended by your flippant treatment of their passion of choice.

I must advise that you either shit or get off the pot, instead of hiding your fears behind some flawed ideology of "credibility." There's a lot of good, uncompromising music out there, done by people who are making a sustainable living through their craft. Locale changes don't change their dedication to their craft, and while they don't cater to the opinions of their fan, they know that their fans are an important part of their existence. They are the ones that pay their bills, they are the ones that consume and appreciate their art, and as such, they go to great lengths to ensure that the fanbase is maintained. To believe otherwise is folly.

You wanna be a musician? Then start taking it seriously instead of treating it like a hobby. Don't be such a juvenile, mud-eating ass clown.

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

you bring up some good points, sir. (none / 0) (#258)
by Prophet themusicgod1 on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 09:59:17 AM EST

been thinking bout this whole matter. firstly, i fibbed - i do care about my fans. this is probably however related to the fact that due to [i'm sure you guessed that i don't exactly have that many] the number of them, i know a good number of them quite well, i think my old fanlist had somewhere between 3-4 exgirlfriends on it [no family members, however]...and a lot of what normal people have as 'freinds' i have as 'fans'...so it's simply not true that i don't care about them. but where their influence stops, is the music...[except for the exgirlfriends - all of them now have a song or eight.]

you're probably right. i'll die an unheard musician, and my work will rot beside me. but i'll be dead, and won't care. of course i'm sure they would have said the same about great grandpa bach too...his fans were a mere 'cult' until what, more than a century after his death? not that it really matters, i guess...

and for what it's worth i havn't smoked a single joint in around a year [and even then it was just that -a single joint-]. not, mind you, that pot's evil or something...i just have better things to do with my braincells. but yes.
"I suspect the best way to deal with procrastination is to put off the procrastination itself until later. I've been meaning to try this, but haven't gotten around to it yet."swr
[ Parent ]
Pot? (none / 0) (#291)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 05:15:20 AM EST

Where the hell did that come from?

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

Revenue is not the goal (none / 0) (#194)
by glor on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 06:50:46 AM EST

I make music because I need to. My total revenue from making music over the last ten years has been $50, for a friend's wedding, over my protestations.

I would be afraid to depend on music for a living --- afraid that the pressure to produce would force me to produce inferior art, or spoil my love for the art altogether. That would make for a dark life.

--
Disclaimer: I am not the most intelligent kuron.
[ Parent ]

I pay to play music! (none / 0) (#240)
by tetsuwan on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 04:29:49 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Piracy.. music.. software.. (4.71 / 7) (#6)
by vile on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 03:46:00 AM EST

First, props on the article. It was an interesting read, and should provide a lot of commentary. +1 from me at least.

There are some interesting things that I wish to present to the crowd.. actually, just two at the moment..

First, and foremost.. RIAA.. I really do not like these people. I think artists would be better off in this age without them. Why support them? They screw over their artists. Earn a buck. Be greedy. And sue people left and right simply because they have a failing (hah.. failing? profiting.) business model.

Here is a little something I posted recently in a comment that was near to this subject. The most interesting feature, in my opinion, of the data is the number of new releases. Why did the RIAA drop down to 27,000/year in 2001? Think about it.

Anyway.. the second thought that I wanted to present was Microsoft. A thriving business model. A superior company in this respect (not so much in others...). I hate them. With a passion, actually. But, honestly, I love the software. I love what they have done with their abilities.. and the abilities that they have provided others. Such as you or I.. you know, *jobs*. Revolutionary stuff! But beyond that, my point.. has anyone considered why Microsoft doesn't go after people who may be pirating their software? I mean the small folk.. not the business people. Why? Because, in their model, pirating is a way of word of mouth. In all honesty, it has helped them tremendously.

If you take a moment to think about these things.. you'll find some pretty interesting thought flows arising out of the moment..

I want to say a lot more.. but really can't seem to find the energy to say it.. sorry... =\ Great article.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
My bad (4.00 / 2) (#10)
by vile on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:05:32 AM EST

27,000/year in 2000...... also an interesting thought, to be objective to my own view, is the PDF below the 27,000 table which includes inflation, I believe. To further object to my own view, is the boom of the 'net in the 90's... never the less, to support my view.. aren't they making profit? Additionally, how much of that profit is spent on legal fees? Just a few thoughts..

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
And a thought just popped (4.00 / 3) (#13)
by vile on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:09:38 AM EST

... into my head.. how many consumers, clients of their own, are they pissing off by their actions since 2k or so? And they wonder why sales are dropping? Think about the recent article (disclaimer: other site) on what is about to happen next? These are their clients. You know, the people who pay their light bill.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
2010: last years music in $9 of disk storage. (4.75 / 8) (#29)
by gulfie on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:45:04 AM EST

The music industry is not dead, the companies that are unwilling to sacrifice there stupidly huge profit margins, are.

There is no tried and tested internet music business model because the companies with all the artists held hostage, refuse to give up there advantage, like good capitalist babies holding on to there lolly for dear life, balling and whining because the dentist wants to take it away. They are much more interested in there short term profit than a long term sustainable business model, primarily because it cuts them out of the loop entirely.

If you figure that the RIAA put out 27,000 albums last year, and each one is 60 MB Compressed. Every song, by every artist (well that matters anyway...), will fit in 1.62 TB of disk... or about $1,620 in disk. With the current cost of disk storage decreasing at 110% per year. By 2005, that cost is down to $370, about as much as an iPod, or not too far out of the range of a consumer. By 2007 $83. By 2020, just one president away, when Dick Chenney is in the big office, $9.

The Music industry has decided that the way to address the problem is to get laws passed and keep there effective monopoly on distribution. The writing is on the wall, the gig will be up sometime, but every year they delay they get another couple Billion dollars in profit. All the time they will be pissing people off, screwing up there longer term chances of providing reasonable link in the value chain.

If you could 'steal' all 27,000 albums of last years music ("worth" about 400,000) if it only cost you $9? Would you? Emagine it, every song, every artist at your fingertips. What about $300? Figure you probably already pay $360 or so a year for cable.

All the big movies last year fit on to less disk than last years music. But who would want to see them again, right?

If a Move costs on average 30 million to produce, and costs $15 as a DVD... why does Jimmy Hendrix, who hasn't made any content for the last few decades sell CDs that cost $15?



Right on (n/t) (none / 0) (#39)
by vile on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 05:09:58 AM EST

Awesome point of view for the conversation.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
wtf (none / 0) (#49)
by starsky on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 05:55:08 AM EST

is the deal with this new trend of posts with NT in the subject line but yet have text in the comment?

[ Parent ]
Don't know [n/t] (5.00 / 1) (#51)
by Big Dogs Cock on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 06:26:17 AM EST

Stupidity I guess.

People say that anal sex is unhealthy. Well it cured my hiccups.
[ Parent ]
Actually (none / 0) (#84)
by vile on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 12:01:58 PM EST

I wasn't presenting good commentary. My comment was simply stating approval of the point of view, rather than providing another. Therefore, it was not on topic.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
N/T not the same as OT (5.00 / 1) (#89)
by cdyer on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 12:39:56 PM EST

  • OT = Off topic
  • N/T = No text

Capiche?
Cliff



[ Parent ]
good point (none / 0) (#100)
by vile on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 02:02:53 PM EST

old habit...

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
Since you ask ... (5.00 / 1) (#58)
by kaemaril on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:34:41 AM EST

If you could 'steal' all 27,000 albums of last years music ("worth" about 400,000) if it only cost you $9? Would you? Emagine it, every song, every artist at your fingertips.

Hell no, I wouldn't. Why? Because 99.99% of it would be stuff I don't listen to and have no interest in. On the other hand, if I could go to a website and pick and choose out of those 27,000 albums the precise individual songs I wanted to legally download and be able to legally play as many times as I liked, on whatever machine I liked, I certainly would pay for that. I'd happily pay either a subscription (if it was low enough ... I don't really like all that much music) or on a per-song basis.


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
Children with a golden ear. (none / 0) (#133)
by gulfie on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:08:54 PM EST

Theres some really interesting reasearch done on Napster. Just like a public library, if you have a huge collection of stuff. You might be surprised at what you end up liking.

My dirty little secret is that I like DDR songs. Yes Dance Dance Revolution songs. It's tragic really... but up beat and energetic.

If a friend hadn't introduced me to them I'd have been blissfully ignorant and at least a little bit snooty at the music. A lot like Eminem.

[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#144)
by Greyjack on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 08:30:16 PM EST

...at the risk of sounding like an advertisement, have you tried listen.com's Rhapsody service?  I pay 'em ten bucks a month for streaming on-demand access to 20K+ albums (or whatever they're up to now).  Realistically, they've probably got about 70-80% of the artists I look up directly.  (Mind you, I usually don't bother with the ones I know are on puny indy labels, but even then, I've been surprised in a few instances).

What I've found most compelling about it, though, is browsing through categories, hopping from artist to artist.  There's TONS of stuff I haven't heard before.  I had no idea Acid Jazz was so damned cool before, since I'd never heard any (f'rinstance).

Anyway.  Don't want to come off as a plant; I just really dig the service.


--
Here is my philosophy: Everything changes (the word "everything" has just changed as the word "change" has: it now means "no change") --Ron Padgett


[ Parent ]
Streaming? Over dial-up? (none / 0) (#226)
by pin0cchio on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 01:20:50 PM EST

I pay [Listen.com's Rhapsody] ten bucks a month for streaming on-demand access to 20K+ albums

Streaming, eh? The technology has not been perfected that can stream listenable audio over a v.90 or v.92 dial-up connection or (worse yet) to a moving vehicle.

Another problem is that Rhapsody requires a Windows computer, which is an extra $300 ($200 PC plus $100 OEM XP Home license) for people who run a Mac household.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Sure, it's not perfect. (none / 0) (#234)
by Greyjack on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 02:38:52 PM EST

Streaming, eh? The technology has not been perfected that can stream listenable audio over a v.90 or v.92 dial-up connection

Yup, if the only 'net access you can get is dialup, you're SOL. But then, Kazaa sucks over dialup, too.

or (worse yet) to a moving vehicle.

They're claiming they'll soon be able to stream CD-quality audio over 2.5G and 3G cellphones. M'self, I'll believe it when I see it; however, I've been seriously thinking about getting a T68i anyway, this would clinch it ('cause I'd be able to get the feed in my car). Of course, heavy use would be waaaaay spendy on the call plan. Bandwidth only gets cheaper over time, though; this type of service will be feasible (and affordable) a lot sooner than you think.

Another problem is that Rhapsody requires a Windows computer, which is an extra $300 ($200 PC plus $100 OEM XP Home license) for people who run a Mac household.

Quite true. I'm not claiming that Rhapsody is the future, nor that it's for everyone; I was just pointing out that it exists. (I will state that some incarnation of this type of service is the future, though). As I type this, I'm resisting the urge to yammer on about self-configuring wireless mesh networks are going to be the Next Huge Thing, and how this type of technology is going to turn communications on its ear. SBC, look the heck out.

(someone's been reading too much Cringely lately)

--
Here is my philosophy: Everything changes (the word "everything" has just changed as the word "change" has: it now means "no change") --Ron Padgett


[ Parent ]
Easy Question (5.00 / 2) (#67)
by melia on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 09:21:36 AM EST

why does Jimmy Hendrix, who hasn't made any content for the last few decades sell CDs that cost $15?

The same reason everything else costs what it does. Enough people are willing to pay.
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]

For the same reason I pay taxes. (5.00 / 1) (#134)
by gulfie on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:12:43 PM EST

Because if I do not, people with guns will come and take me or my stuff.

I'd like to say "to support public works" or some such something... nope. It's cuz' the guys with guns will come and shoot me.

That is why I don't copy my friends Hendrix CDs, or get them off whatever fileshare is hip this week.

[ Parent ]

Dead Artists/Copyright in sound recordings (none / 0) (#203)
by Kruador on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 10:35:48 AM EST

It's a tricky one. Hendrix has after all been dead for over 32 years - where are the royalties going?

A number of the other artists on the recordings are presumably still alive - Noel Redding (bass, the first incarnation of the Experience) certainly is, so they should be getting their royalties. Since (as I mentioned earlier, in a different thread) most recording contracts are front-loaded, surely the contract should be paid off by now? The royalties have covered the recording costs?

No. The record companies also get you to sign over everything you record to them as part of the contract. The 'work-for-hire' legislative magic trick actually didn't make a whole lot of difference, except that more mature artists are avoiding this trick at the moment and wouldn't have been able to if music were defined as work for hire.

You can tell who actually owns the recordings by looking at the sleeve. The (P) marking indicates the copyright owner of the recording. The (C) indicates the copyright owner of the packaging. Any recording where (P) is different from (C) usually indicates that the artist either owns it themselves or that they have set up a holding company.

There's also a copyright in the music and lyrics, which is usually assigned to a publishing company (again, this is usually an arm of the same conglomerate if you're a new artist). If the credit reads 'copyright control,' there is no publishing deal - the author is handling it themselves. You need to license the work to perform it yourself.

Essentially the copyright is owned by the company, which again means that it's subject to whatever Congress's (and the EU's - I'm a UKian) latest extension is. Even though the main artist has been dead for over 30 years. I assume that the royalties are being paid to Hendrix's estate.

--
Kruador


[ Parent ]

Copyright (none / 0) (#282)
by chu on Fri Jan 31, 2003 at 10:10:59 AM EST

Copyright is always owned by the artist (or their estate); certain rights under it are assigned to the label. Session musicians and remixers are work for hire which they are well aware of from the outset. I still don't understand how publishing works though.

[ Parent ]
Some links to help you out. (5.00 / 1) (#124)
by dr zeus on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 06:02:49 PM EST

American Scientist says that in 2012, we will have disk drives storing 120 TB on average. The driving factor behind this growth will likely not be music or images, but video. Tivo like devices will require massive amounts of space to record high definition video, and will keep the price within the reach of the average consumer.

This whitepaper from Berghell Associates draws similar conclusions about the reduction in price of hard disk space. They predict a cost of $21 per TB by 2010. Still not a bad deal if you ask me.

[ Parent ]

obscene profits (none / 0) (#283)
by chu on Fri Jan 31, 2003 at 10:31:21 AM EST

Can you point out how much profit a label makes on a CD? Indie labels sell full-length CD's for around the $4-6 price mark to their distributors. Big labels will sell for considerably less and will then add deals like 5 for 1. That means that for every 5 copies a shop buys, they will get 1 free. I've heard of 3, 2 and even 1 for 1 deals. The label has to cover the cost of recording, mastering, design, disc manufacturing, promotion, mechanical royalties (goes to the artist), printing and packaging  out of this. From the obscene profits left they have to pay the artist anywhere between about 20-50% in royalties and run an office, pay salaries, reinvest in the company etc.

These loss-leader type deals by the majors have the purpose of squeezing other records out of the market. This is classic monopolist behaviour - the monopoly is created by the price being too low not too high.

[ Parent ]

Nice justification (4.00 / 12) (#57)
by twistedfirestarter on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:21:41 AM EST

for your absolute self-interest and lack of decency. You ARE a techno-anarchist, you just don't have the balls to admit it. You're just like any other of a million geeks.

Basically what you are saying is : fuck principles (both pro- and anti-IP), fuck morals (They just aren't relevant anymore), fuck everything except for technology. Technology should decide the course of history. Only technology has authority.

And don't give me that fatalistic crap that we can't do anything about technology. That's meaningless - when enough people decide on something they can make it happen.

For the record, I am anti-IP. But I, for one, don't agree with this whole fatalistic "free market" progress bullshit because it simply isn't true.

Haven't it always been the case? (none / 0) (#59)
by CtrlBR on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:37:19 AM EST

It has always been technological progress that shaped society evolution and not the reverse. Society can try to slowdown things but not much more...

Technological novelty being printing press, firearms, car, transistor or plastic once it's out of the box it's not getting back in.

That sadden me, because for example cloning will be a kitchen table affair in a few years and I sure don't like the prospect, but that's life...

If no-one thinks you're a freedom fighter than you're probably not a terrorist.
-- Gully Foyle

[ Parent ]
The current zeitgeist (4.50 / 2) (#63)
by twistedfirestarter on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 08:19:55 AM EST

will have you believe that technology shapes society, but it is demonstrably not true. Just think about it.

Technologies flourish because they suit a society's interest and die because they go against the interests of society. Sometimes, technology can empower certain members of a society and change the balance of power of society, but society is the one developing technology, not the other way around. In a democratic society there is always the option to make a group decision to ban or stop developing a particular technology. Progress is not inevitable, or inherently beneficial.

P2P is flourishing not because it goes againt society as a whole or is changing society but because it is actually aligned with a potent force in society - the technological overclass, of which you and me are both members. Globally, anybody with a computer and an internet connections, who is capable of downloading free music is in the top 1% of people, technologically speaking. Even the most communist Linux geek is hardly a disempowered or dissident citizen because they must have powerful and expensive computer equipment.

It is a case of one powerful societal force - the music industry, against another, the technologically connected overclass. The specific technology, the Internet and P2P, is merely a football.

Fatalistic thinking about technology serves the purposes of the Western corporate overclass who want less monitoring of and accountability for their behaviour. It is conformist thinking an intellectual cop-out. Making the decision of not making a decision is still making a decision.

It is almost always applied with double standards as wells. Let's apply this kind of thinking to weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons. It's a technology (a very advanced one that). So let's not bother trying to control North Korea, Iraq, or for that matter, Al Qaeda. After all, it's technology - it shapes society not the other way around.

Reproductive cloning is an excellent example. Think of the horrorific vanity cloning which will result if we just let the technology "do it's thing". The Raelians goal of immortality is both ludicrous and disturbing.

Just sitting back and accepting this technology is morally equivalent to supporting it. No decision is still a decision.

[ Parent ]

I think you are wrong (none / 0) (#71)
by heng on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 09:39:23 AM EST

Technology has always shaped society. Whether people want it to or not. Every time there has been a major technological breakthrough, it has been society that has had to adapt. This is simply the case.

It applies equally well to WMD. Most physics graduates know how to build nuclear weapons. In the same was that now very many young teenagers can build a working aircraft, the knowledge about nuclear fission will continue to desseminate further. You cannot prevent people from acquiring the knowledge.

What the US is doing in iraq is analogous to what the record companies are trying to do now. They are putting effort into preventing the dessemination of the technology. But history has taught us that it will not work. It would be far better to put energy into making sure that the technology, when it is widely available, is not used in a negative way. That is quite distinct from ignoring the problem, as you seem to be implying so many technologists do. In the case of nuclear weapons, the best tact would be to make sure noone wants to use nuclear weapons on the US. In the case of music, provide an alternative that is more inviting than copyright infringement.

[ Parent ]
You forget one thing (none / 0) (#211)
by CENGEL3 on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 11:48:19 AM EST

This isn't just a world of thoughts and ideas and knowledge. It's a world of steel and petrol and uranium and grain.

Sure alot of physics students have the theoritical knowledge to build a nuke... that doesn't mean that they have the MEANS to build a nuke.... it's not like you can go down to your local hardware store and buy weapons grade fissionable material.

The knowledge and materials neccesary to build a functional Anti-Aircraft gun are even easier to acquire but it's not like you can walk around your local neigborhood and see them sitting out in peoples front lawns.

It's the classic mistake that most technophiles make.... ideas and knowledge can't be controled... but the MEANS of producing the gadgets that are the realization of those ideas can be....unless they are as common as dirt.

[ Parent ]

That doesn't fly, in my book (none / 0) (#81)
by ScuzzMonkey on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 11:48:35 AM EST

Just sitting back and accepting this technology is morally equivalent to supporting it. No decision is still a decision.

Sure, you can probably make a great philosophical argument for it, but it falls down when you try to apply it practically. Why? Because essentially it transfers responsibility for everything equally to everyone. It makes everyone either for or against something, based on their action or inaction and the ultimate outcome. And when you attempt to spread accountability that wide, then it simply disappears.

In the real world, sometimes no decision just means indecision. Certainly, things happen while people are trying to make up their minds. But they happen because of the positive actions of others, not because of the inaction. You can argue that inaction allows things to happen, but you're trying in that case to prove something that cannot be proven. You're into the 'if, maybe, perhaps' realm at that point, and either outcome is as likely as the other. There is nothing to say that just sitting back and staying on the sidelines particularly benefits either the pro or the anti technological stances, because there is no way to say which side people might join if they did step forward. You can always tell yourself "Well, if people had protested this, it would never have happened." But of course it's just as true that if they rose up and supported it instead of protesting it, it would still have happened--and you can't say which they would have done, because the fact remains that they didn't do either.

In some ways, that is the cop-out. There will always be a large chunk of indecision around new or controversial technological issues. Yet this is normal and even healthy. Pointing the finger at people who are not even there may be intellectually satisfying, but doesn't begin to address the cold fact that decisions are made by those who show up. Not showing up is just not showing up--it doesn't count either way.


No relation to Happy Monkey (User #5786)
[ Parent ]

turned on its head (4.00 / 1) (#92)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 01:07:55 PM EST

people make decisions based on what suits there best interest.

people make decisions based on what suits society's best interest.

both statements are true. it is where the two statements conflict where change in society is made.

if enough people do something to suit there own interest despite society's best interest, then society changes, whether we are talking about rich nations or poor nations, rich people or poor people.

these are just the facts. you can be morally repelled by them all you want. i am grossed out by lions eating zebras while the zebra is still breathing. my revulsion, no matter how high-minded or moral, doesn't change the fact it happens.

Just sitting back and accepting this technology is morally equivalent to supporting it. No decision is still a decision.

so sit in your ivory tower and pass your judgments on my morally nihilistic attitudes. you miss the point. i'm not the point, the real world is the point.

it's the real world that is morally neutral, not me. i know this is an ugly fact. but don't shoot me the messenger just because you don't like the message. i fail to see how your moral high-mindedness will change things just as much as my decision to not decide.

reality is what we make of it? then i want gravity reversed and the sky to be pink. not going to happen.

the strength of your moral revulsion and a billion other morally revulsed people just like you is limited, and not by me or other "morally nihilistic" types like me, but by the real world and the way things play out beyond any one person's, or group of person's, control.

while i might be flawed by saying we are but ants in a cold uncaring universe unable to change a thing, you are equally flawed by saying our moral standards are omnipotent forces that ultimately control everything. the truth lies in the middle. i am being intellectually honest by recognizing the one-sidedness of moral neutrality. you must do the same on your view of absolute moral determination.

C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

Not necessarily (5.00 / 1) (#281)
by chu on Fri Jan 31, 2003 at 09:56:37 AM EST

if enough people do something to suit there own interest despite society's best interest, then society changes, whether we are talking about rich nations or poor nations, rich people or poor people.

Enough people, yes, but until there is a very clear consensus of interest, society excludes or eliminates them. That consensus is very difficult to achieve in a capitalist society when nobody is making money from the new behaviour. I'd be interested to know where the record industry's lost gazillions are now being spent cos that money has to be going into someone's pocket.


[ Parent ]
technological progress? (4.00 / 1) (#101)
by cronian on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 02:21:35 PM EST

Technology doesn't always influence society. Tehre is evidence that there were steam engines during Roman times, but they were considered merely as toys. The Romans had no real use for steam engines because they didn't any reason to make their slaves work easier. After the fall of the Roman empire, the areas it had previously lost much scientific knowledge of the past.

The idea of progress really isn't even that old. Progress was only invented after the industrial revolution, and has since become imbedded in western culture. Military technology has traditionally allowed for those with the best to become dominant which has in a darwinian way pushed technological progress. However, WMD are said to be the great equalizers, because if you have nukes, then you can successfully retaliate against any attack. Direct war between nuclear powers doesn't work because of MAD(Mutual Assured Destruction.) Therefore, when every country eventually obtains WMD's, it should promote globabl stability of governments.

While the power nuclear weapons is new, World Wars have been shown to be deadly before so questions have shifted to economic. The internet provides many new economic incentives with it, which forces its use. However, the internet also allows the free sharing of all information. The qeustion is whether the economic benefits can be gained whie limiting digital piracy. If the answer is no, then the technology will probably force the music business to change. If the answer is yes, then things such as the Hollings bill and DRM technologies have strong potential for becoming the De Facto standard. Complicating the situation thoguh is the interconnectivity of countries around the world which make dgital protection less useful and helps to sway the balance in favor of the continuing success of P2P technologies, although technology doesn't need to drive progress.

We perfect it; Congress kills it; They make it; We Import it; It must be anti-Americanism
[ Parent ]

Morals? Morals don't even exist (4.00 / 4) (#77)
by RoOoBo on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 10:52:10 AM EST

Science, technology and the products you can build using them exist.

Morals is just a set of changing rules that a given set of people share. Given a large enough number of people you could potentially have any kind of morals. Given a large enough amount of time over a limited number of people all kind of morals could potentially exist.

You can't change the real world. You can't change the fact that there is way to move a car burning gas. You can't the fact that you can share an (not unlimited but practically near to it) amount of information using a computer network.

On the other way is easier that anyone things to change the opinion of people about a war (just bomb something large enough). Morals are no more real that the Star Trek universe, they only live in the minds of the people who follow them. And they can change as fast as I got bored after watching 10 minutes of any current TV show.



[ Parent ]
And all the trains ran on time, too. (4.00 / 1) (#180)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 05:20:26 AM EST

Ah, a classic line of thought, normally adopted by your average wannabe existentialist g**k that refuses to take responsibility. Sir, I assure you that morals exist and are much more substantial than the Star Trek universe, just as much as human rights and democracy exist. Your line of thought leads me to believe that you are nothing more than a meat-machine, lacking in all of the qualities that construe human nature, and as such, are fit for nothing more than mindless manual labor. You are an IT monkey, I assume?

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

Example? (none / 0) (#105)
by DarkZero on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 03:44:18 PM EST

And don't give me that fatalistic crap that we can't do anything about technology. That's meaningless - when enough people decide on something they can make it happen.

Please give an example of when the progress of technology that was available on a global scale was stopped by people's refusal to embrace it on moral grounds. I will be quite surprised to see such an example, since guns, which make the killing of a human being relatively easy, are widely available and possessed in many countries, every large military in the world has machine guns that make the killing of human beings fast and easy, and nuclear weaponry is currently possessed by just about every nation with both the means and the will to have it.

[ Parent ]

Actually... (5.00 / 2) (#119)
by Control Group on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 05:01:34 PM EST

Japan successfully un-implemented firearm technology from the early 1600s until the late 1800s. This was after the gun had almost won them Korea in 1592 (though Japan did end up losing the war, due primarily to sheer weight of numbers in opposition).

The Samurai as a class refused to carry firearms during that period; their culture determined that bushido was more important than effectiveness in combat. IIRC, anyone having the knowledge to produce guns or gunpowder was rounded up and and kept under the watchful eye of the Shogun.

Granted, they did eventually re-embrace the gun, but eliminating a technology for 200 years - after making significant use of it - is still pretty impressive in my book.

For more information, see "The Samurai" on Japanese Arms and Armor.

***
"Oh, nothing. It just looks like a simple Kung-Fu Swedish Rastafarian Helldemon."
[ Parent ]

This is the exception that proves the rule [nm] (none / 0) (#138)
by Nelziq on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:26:12 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Indeed it does (5.00 / 1) (#148)
by Dyolf Knip on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 09:02:25 PM EST

It proves that the even the Japanese, who above all odds managed to bury their heads in the ground, chose to tell the Samurai to shove it and adopted guns when someone showed up on their doorsteps with superior firepower. It was only their great luck that Perry's fleet was after trade and not conquest.

The only reason they went 200 years without guns was that they lived on an island and were relatively isolated. It should be noted that many a European fiefdom also tried to outlaw firearms (and crossbows before them), but there was always one bandit or 'uncivilized' princeling who was willing to use them to beat the stuffing out of their neighbors. If a corporation or government chooses the Samurai model, they will quickly be left in the dust by everyone who finds a way to make new tech work for them.

---
If you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.

Dyolf Knip
[ Parent ]

No (4.00 / 1) (#114)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:46:25 PM EST

It doesn't matter if one person or a bunch of people impose some moral principle on themselves. There are people who won't. It's meaningless to talk about this problem in terms of what should or shouldn't happen morally - because what will happen is there will always be people who want to get something for nothing. Technology will keep making this easier and easier to do. It's short-sighted to think otherwise.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
it's one reason we have laws [nt] (none / 0) (#279)
by chu on Fri Jan 31, 2003 at 09:40:58 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Unfortunately, the odds are against you (5.00 / 2) (#137)
by Nelziq on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:24:30 PM EST

Take a look at history. Lots of different sets of people with lots of different morals and lots of different principles came and went. Technology always decided the day. The founding fathers were a bunch of traitorous bastards, The writers of the magna carta defied their lawful king, etc. etc. but none of that made a difference. They won and thus they wrote the histories. In the end Power makes the world go 'round and Technology is just another form of power. If you really want to change the world (for better or worse) you have to acknowledge the reality of the way things are before you can decide how things will become.

[ Parent ]
Yes (none / 0) (#174)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 03:56:15 AM EST

It's about time we nuke those Amish into oblivion.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Another example (none / 0) (#245)
by mattwb2 on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 08:17:07 PM EST

Charging interest used to be immoral and illegal, but it's a well accepted practice (at least in western countries) today.

[ Parent ]
How does this rule applies to (3.50 / 2) (#62)
by mami on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 08:05:39 AM EST

the moral justifications, which President Bush applies to solve the world's problems ?

Unintentional consequences ... right.

Getting paid (4.70 / 10) (#66)
by melia on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 08:45:04 AM EST

Because they are not fighting evil amoral artist-ripping-off music pirates.

Good point. They are fighting their own customers. Not a good way to run a business!

The Internet is an information distribution model. Infinite supply, infinite demand.

Don't know about that. Bandwidth costs money. Fair enough, it's a minimal cost, but it's still a cost. Demand on the internet certainly isn't infinite either.

Artists will make music whether they are promised a penny or a billion. The passion for music, to create it, does not depend upon how much money you will make.

This might be true. However, whatever the evidence from individuals, I do find it a reasonable assumption that the more time musicians have on their hands, the more and better music they can make. I'm not saying this (that you need lots of time and money to make good music) is necessarily the case - but in general I think this would be true. It's not a question of passion, more of the opportunity to use that passion. I.e. - I personally believe that musicians who don't have to hold down a 9-5 have more opportunities to make music.

I am of course, a hypocrite, and also have a feeling this view is a little unpopular, but, I don't think it's fair that an artist can invest their talent, time, effort and money into something which they expect to be paid for, and then have it stolen. I do believe it's theft. I also think it's odd that these discussions are mostly centered around music, software and books. If there was some sort of magical, low variable cost factory, would we expect car designers or computer manufacturers to work for free? I don't understand where the incentive for Dyson to invent his amazing hoover is, without the money.

If an artist wants to give away music for free, that's absolutely fine by me, but if they want to paid for it, so they should be - if you don't want to pay for it, then make it yourself.

As a final note - I do think a lot of great music has come out from people's "passion" for success, money and fame. A bit like boxing, maybe... :)
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong

interesting point (none / 0) (#73)
by heng on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 09:59:13 AM EST

That is a very interesting point about car designers working for nothing. By the time we get to the point where manufacturing costs are negligible, nobody will have anything to do but design things for free (or create music, or watch tv etc). Think about what the limiting factors are on material output. I would argue that, on a fundamental level, they are energy and, to a lesser extent, technology. Given sufficient advancement of both, supply could far exceed demand and everything will be free. At which point, people will create for the love of creating.

This is starting to be seen in the modern world, as more and more people work in areas that a hundred years ago would not have been considered real jobs - essentially the leisure industry. This is as the cost of manufacturing falls.

I've been intending to write an essay about this. Unfortunately time constraints have so far prevented me.

[ Parent ]
Communist tendancies (none / 0) (#85)
by sheepy on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 12:02:16 PM EST

I am struggling with this concept to. Marx/Communism/Darwin/IPR/OpenSource there is definitely an article there, basically if communism didn't work in reality why should in work in cyberspace ? I seem to remember the eastern block made terrible cars. I figured someone already wrote it being new to K5. I would love to be a marxist (without the bloody revolution) but there is always that one greedy person that fucks it up for the rest of us utopians.

"Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong." John G. Riefenbaker
[ Parent ]
Communism (4.50 / 2) (#108)
by pyro9 on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:07:52 PM EST

While some of the ideals are the same, this is not quite Communism. It just happens to look promising for fixing many of the same economic bugs that capitalism suffers.

In Communism, the central idea was public ownership of the means of production (assembly lines, factories, natural resources). The idea here is more of an end game for capitalism.

One idea in capitalism is that given a healthy market and abundant resources, market price will approach the marginal cost of production (that is, what it actually costs to make a single instance of a thing once the one time design, tooling, etc. costs are met). The question is: What happens when the marginal cost of production for everything is ZERO (and how can we make that so?).

The beauty of that is that a true capitalist (as opposed to whet we see in the U.S.) will actively strive for that condition AND a market healthy enough to fulfill it's promise of free stuff for all. People would be well able to afford to design things and create art, music, and literature for free because they would have no expenses to cover and everything they want (that exists) is free for the asking.

The failing of Communism is that people still HAD to work even if they hated their job. Meanwhile, they were promised to never starve (and never truly prosper) no matter how well or poorly they worked.

In a free (as in beer) world, the incentives for creation would be personal satisfaction and acclaim. Neither of those would be had by doing a poor job.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
capitalism/communism: industrial-age models (5.00 / 2) (#132)
by s alpha on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:04:58 PM EST

who tries to stick bogeyman labels like ‘Communism’ on people’s private behaviour in their own homes?

capitalism and communism are about privately or publicly controlled distribution of goods, based on the economics of scarcity (if you have some, everyone else has less).

these ‘isms’ are completely inapplicable to digital-age models that inherently preclude that kind of control — why not try ‘privatizing’ or ‘centrally planning’ the distribution of fire, or herpes?

equating spontaneous, organic popular phenomena like filesharing with totalitarianism is beyond bullshit.

it’s the RIAA & Co. that are trying to drag us into a centrally-planned, coercive/restrictive distribution model, against the will of the people, so who exactly is resurrecting the ghost of the USSR?

[ Parent ]
-isms (none / 0) (#157)
by pyro9 on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 10:58:14 PM EST

Agreed. Communism and Capitalism both have some serious bugs as economic systems. In the U.S. many aspects of the USSR that had nothing to do with the economic system got lumped in with the term Communism.

As far as it goes, I'd say that Communism has the higher principle while Capitalism gives up on that and settles for more self corrective behaviour. Unfortunatly, neither adequatly address Corruption, ignorance, or foolishness in government economic policy, and so both fall short in the real world, just in different ways.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Capitalism does work (none / 0) (#195)
by tekue on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 06:55:54 AM EST

Unfortunatly, neither [capitalism nor comunism] adequatly address Corruption, ignorance, or foolishness in government economic policy, and so both fall short in the real world, just in different ways.
I beg to differ. Both capitalism and communism address the issues of corruption, ignorance and such of the government. Communism addresses them by lowering the need of the governing humans to have more goods than others, by using the law. Capitalism addresses it by lowering the power those governing humans have over the market.

In perfect communism the government economic policy is perfect, and corruption and other vices are not present, because the law and it's enforcement is perfect. In perfect capitalism there is no government economic policy, so there is no corruption and such. Guess which is more attainable.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]

The problem (none / 0) (#215)
by pyro9 on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 11:57:59 AM EST

I agree that the Capitalist system is more attainable (I have even hinted at it). However, obviously neither adequatly addresses the issues. Name any capitalist country whose government has no economic policy. In the U.S., D.C. is full of corporate labbiests trying to buy special legislative favors that will distort the free market in their favor. Unfortunatly, they get them all too often. Most modern capitalists acknowledge that unhealthy markets and monopolies DO happen and do require intervention.

There's nothing wrong with admitting there are bugs in a system that clearly has bugs.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Like Marx pointed out... (4.33 / 3) (#165)
by DavidTC on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 12:25:59 AM EST

Pure communism will not work unless there is no competition over resources.

In other words, as long as you want something, and I want the same thing, and only one of us can have it, pure communism cannot and will not work,and Marx didn't think it would work. (Workers owning the means of production, OTOH, is fine and dandy, but that's not 'communism', that's just a first step.)

And that's exactly why communism fails, because we need two things: A way to encourage people to generate resources, and a way to decide who gets what limited resources, and these two goals exactly line up, we just trade one resource for another.

Once I have enough resources no matter what I do, and everyone is the same way, capitalism immediately fails, and communism immediately starts working. In fact, communism is pretty much automatic at that point.

However, with information, this has already happened. Everyone has all the information they want, because you don't lose information when you share it. All the restrictions on information are artifical, a way to try to prop up the creation of information.

It's not really the 'choice' that people are thinking it is. Capitalism automatically happens when there are limited resources, and communism automatically happens where there aren't.

Just like the USSR tried to force communism on a country with limited resources and got famines, black markets, and organized crime, the RIAA is trying to force capitalism on an industry with infinite resources, and it's not working. It's not a question of morals or laws, it's just impossible to force the wrong economic system on something and have it work right.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Restricted Supply (none / 0) (#217)
by melia on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 12:09:54 PM EST

the RIAA is trying to force capitalism on an industry with infinite resources, and it's not working.

There aren't infinite resources. Talent is not an infinite resource, its supply is restricted. If we stopped paying all the artists for their music, I wonder how many would continue? If they stop, does that make them bad sell-out artists? Or do they just want to paid for something they've worked hard on?
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]

we don't need them to continue (none / 0) (#224)
by heng on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 01:16:28 PM EST

We already have more music than we can possibly listen to. However, they will continue, regardless of whether they make money from it.

[ Parent ]
Nah. (none / 0) (#256)
by melia on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 09:04:53 AM EST

We already have more music than we can possibly listen to.

You're homogenising (sp?) all music. To be honest, i've already heard more than enough trance, but there's plenty of other genres and particular artists that i'd like to hear more of.

However, they will continue, regardless of whether they make money from it.

Perhaps some, not all. I'm sure plenty of music has been motivated (or made possible) by greed, do you not agree? Does that necessarily make it bad music we could do without? Maybe you don't like Britney Spears or her writers, but little girls think she's great - doesn't their opinion matter? "Good music" is subjective.
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]

Prodution != resources (none / 0) (#261)
by DavidTC on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 10:56:45 AM EST

If I have only one place that can mines diamonds, but diamonds also magically appear out of thin air when I say 'abracadabra', I have infinite diamond resources.

How the diamonds appear out of thin air, or how musical works appear, isn't really relevant to that point. As long as making diamonds appear out of thin air continues to function regardless of the number of diamonds pulled out of thin air. Diamonds will almost immediately lose all their value and if someone ever needs a diamond, people will be happy to tell them to get their own.

And note I'm not making any moral judgements, I'm just saying that it doesn't work. You can argue how this is 'bad', but it's rather akin to arguing how people dying when they don't have enough food is 'bad'. Not really, it's just what happens, and there isn't anything to do about it. (Note giving them food does nothing to alter the fact that, without food, they will die.)

'Information wants to be free' is rather silly expression, but information, being infinitely available, 'wants' to be under communism, because people natural share things if they cannot lose them when they do so, and there really isn't anything anyone can do about that. (In fact, attempting to do something about that would be a lot worse then simply allowing it to happen. We'd have no more charity, no more car pools, no more backyard barbeques, etc. Total selfishness would destroy society.)

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Funny thing about that... (none / 0) (#182)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 05:28:50 AM EST

...the Marxist revolution did happen, and right around when he predicted it would, too. My history is a little fuzzy right now, but I think it was in France and a few other Western European countries where the workers actually did revolt. Rose up, threw out the bosses, took over the factories and ran them through an ad-hoc commitee. That is, until the cops (army?) shot them all. Goddamn my mind is fuzzy. Anyone else here more familiar with this? I remember it being a pretty common fact in British history books.

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

Working for free (3.00 / 2) (#75)
by RoOoBo on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 10:40:38 AM EST

I don't have a problem with working for free at all. I just want everyone else to work for free too. I would want to work because someone wants or needs something I do, not because someone has put a (somewhat random or not) price to something I need that I have to work to pay for it. And I want other people to work because of the same reason.

Money, capitalism, 'economy' (what today people understand for economy, not the real thing of managing the resources you have) and all that stuff are corrupted in their very roots. I just hope we can go away from them, the sooner the better.

As Internet has showed with information when there is no cost (or very minimal cost) to 'reproduce' something there is no real need to put artificial limitations, rather than differenciate between people 'who have' and 'who haven't'. Of course 'free' material production is far away yet (although even with current limitations we could be doing far better than we do).



[ Parent ]
Motivation (none / 0) (#106)
by WeaponOfChoice on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 03:52:19 PM EST

"I don't understand where the incentive for Dyson to invent his amazing hoover is, without the money."

Of course money is a motivation. Without the guarantee of a reward that would at least meet our basic needs I doubt humanity would do very much (exceptions exist...) but I do not think that is the only incentive.

A more interesting question from my point of view is would Dyson have still had the incentive if he only stood to make a million rather than a billion?

Is there a lowest common denominator for creative inspiration that the world at large would find it easier to stomach or does it only become worthwhile when the sales can support entire industries...


Be Strong: Protect the Weak.
[ Parent ]
Needing Money (none / 0) (#118)
by On Lawn on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:59:03 PM EST

They are fighting their own customers.

Since the people are not exchanging money directly to the members of the RIAA for the practices in question, I wouldn't call them customers. Not that it changes the point, since they are definately the targeted demographic of their marketing. You attract more flies with honey then vinegar. I do find it a reasonable assumption that the more time musicians have on their hands, the more and better music they can make.

And the better equipment they have will also translate into better songs. But thats getting very cheap nowadays also. I listen to a lot of "laptop" music these days, which is a meta-genre title applied by some to music mixed on a laptop. Its quality stuff, produced by the kid next door in many instances.

If anything the I think the demand that the RIAA is most worried about is the ability to produce quality, more then distribute it.

[ Parent ]

Since you mentioned the RIAA and Munitions... (4.00 / 4) (#76)
by dissonant on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 10:50:11 AM EST

...you should know that your major label CD purchases indirectly pay for the machinery of war.

This one's much cooler. (5.00 / 1) (#80)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 11:42:31 AM EST

godspeed you! black emperor is complicit is guilty is resisting.  the new album is just music.

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

Great music too. [n/t] (none / 0) (#83)
by dissonant on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 11:53:20 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Kinda. (none / 0) (#184)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 05:31:18 AM EST

Disappointed by Y.U.X.O.. Had real high expectations 'round the Pitchfork "offices" after "Lift Yr...", and hearing YUXO was a big letdown.

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

The only thing that matters (3.50 / 4) (#95)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 01:18:44 PM EST

You are right on point. It doesn't matter what should happen from a moral standpoint, or from a legal standpoint. The only thing that matters for the music industry is what really will happen. They had a good run, but P2P will soon decimate them.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
i agree with you wholeheartedly (5.00 / 3) (#96)
by postindustrialist on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 01:21:25 PM EST

everything you have said has been essentially true and it holds not just for the field of music. all the arts can apply, be it writing, (check out the overflowing legions of "literature" sites and fanfics andpersonal sites with columns marked "poetry" even K5's new literature section is proof that money isn't so much an issue with the true artist.) it also doesn't mean the destruction of the industry. i can order prints of famous artists online and not have the originals, hell give me a printer capable of the size and quality i want, and i can completely copy original paintings and make my own prints. if i find excerpts from books i like, or even more so with sites like plagiarist.com i can pull off full magazine articles, famous poems and other such pieces of literature and print them out and have copies myself without paying. it's just the same as if i were to burn myself a CD of songs i downloaded off of kazaa.

still, these industries thrive and will continue to thrive. i've had complete discographies that i have downloaded and still have gone out to buy the CD for several reasons.

first of all, i'm pleased enough with the product i don't mind paying the artist for his/her/their work.

secondly, they play at a much higher quality that most CDs. most MP3s run at about 128 kps. i can rip them myself at 325 and notice a HUGE difference in quality.

thirdly, i like the liner notes, the extras some Cds carry, and other aesthetic joys i get from the CD itself.

the music industry will not cease, but it's definitely undergoing change.



oooh.. looks likes somebody has anger problems.
question everything.
this sig is only one hundred and fifty characters long and it's still not eno
Unintentionally hilarious article (4.14 / 7) (#113)
by drivers on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:30:51 PM EST

"I will not argue that information wants to be free."

rest of article: "[Information wants to be free.]"

In fairness (5.00 / 1) (#115)
by On Lawn on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:47:20 PM EST


I think he was rather arguing that information does not work well in an economic model.  I took it that it is not that information wants freedom or low prices, it just doesn't fit into the laws of supply and demand.

A much more pallatable and understandable arguement, all in all.  Especially when 99% of all information that existed is lost to history, and continues to be lost to history by natural causes.

[ Parent ]

Or rather, (none / 0) (#140)
by it certainly is on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:42:15 PM EST

some people want information to be free.

Unless you're into anthropomorphic projection, information doesn't want anything at all.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Want informs Freedom... (none / 0) (#158)
by eSolutions on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 11:02:11 PM EST

...that jobs might be more important than Aerosmith Libre.

> Unless you're into anthropomorphic projection,
> information doesn't want anything at all.

It does on Mount Olympus, the epic wonderland where human emotions walk and war, which happens to be about as relevant to practical economic strategy formation as this article.

----
Making periods more convenient -- one box at a time.
--Tampax Commercial
[ Parent ]

Having trouble pinning down the point of this... (3.57 / 7) (#116)
by BeefyT on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:48:36 PM EST

What does this article say that has not been said elsewhere? Can I get my rant with a side of insight sauce? Otherwise I'm just getting a passionate, perhaps overwrought distillation of an ongiong theme. Go ahead, mod me down for being impolite. I'll be the vocal, unimpressed minority. Although this is my first post, I've been lurking for months, and I thought this site was more about reasoned debate, within the article as well as within the discussion, rather than a platform for passionate rhetoric. I respect this site too much to see its moderators unduly persuaded by impassioned, melodramatic pleas.

In other words, this is print media op-ed material.

it's just the internet (none / 0) (#129)
by rodneymunch on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 06:19:50 PM EST

I think the mistake you make is trying to respect something on the internet. The fact of the matter is, it's still just internet people coming to an internet place saying things you read on the internet.

[ Parent ]
geez (none / 0) (#135)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:17:40 PM EST

ummm... life isn't THAT serious you know. it's just a story dude, don't read it if you don't like it. don't expect the posting queue to reflect your personal idea of top quality reading material every day all the time. if you think my little op-ed is way too much bang for my op ed buck, then just remember- it was VOTED to the front page. it's hard to argue with democracy. personally, i think it is just a subject matter that is near and dear to everyone's hearts right now, i think i struck a chord. if you are personally sick of the ongoing debate over p2p, well, no one said you had to read my story, not everyone is as jaded as you are.

now that's a REAL "impassioned, melodramatic plea."

C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

Democracy? You're experiencing it right now... (none / 0) (#145)
by BeefyT on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 08:43:21 PM EST

You say I'm taking this too seriously? Respectfully, you *are* waxing Walt Whitman about downloading MP3s at two in the morning, and getting downright King Loius XIV at the end, except it would go, "Music is dead, long live music."

It's not "way too much bang for my op-ed buck." It's Napster-era prose poetry. In my democratic opinion. I'm not sick of the ongoing debate over P2P, I'm sick of articles with no debate in them, especially articles that are, perhaps without the writer's knowledge, a re-hash of ideas that have been tired since Rosen became the head of the RIAA .

And making the front page is not a certificate of recognition, nor does it make your argument unassailable. It makes your content visible to a sometimes unforgiving audience. And, as in any democracy, there is a vocal minority. I'll be that minority, if I have to. At least it makes things interesting.

[ Parent ]

But! (none / 0) (#146)
by BeefyT on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 08:52:05 PM EST

Let me just add that I love the enthusiasm you put forth, and it's very well written, IMHO. Maybe I am jaded! I just need some freshness to this argument, I guess, instead of what I personally see as generic idealism. But I'm probably in the minority on this one, so I wouldn't take what I say too seriously :).

[ Parent ]
Oh? (4.33 / 3) (#117)
by lb008d on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 04:53:23 PM EST

How can you improve upon that listener experience? You can't.

Sure you can - go see something live.

Look at the value I received for the effort exerted. I can browse the entire canon of popular music on my whim as if I were a god of contemporary pop music history, conjuring the most arcane stuff out of thin air in an instant.

If that's your definition of a "satisfing musical experience", you are even more consumerist than your rant reveals.

I've said it here before - the best musical experiences will always be live (electronic music exempted). It's sad that convienience is valued above the quality of the artistic experience - do you think visiting MOMA online is the same as going to the museum itself? Perhaps in the bland void that is contemporary pop music these days recordings can capture the experience sufficiently, but any production of music as art demands performance to be fully effective.

"Kuro5hin: politics and pretension, from the $3,000 leather recliners on the hill overlooking the trenches."DarkZero

Nonsense! (5.00 / 1) (#123)
by the on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 05:53:17 PM EST

There are bands who play well live, there are bands who play well in the studio, there are bands that do both and bands that do neither. What's so special about electronic music that exempts it from your rule that the best musical experiences are live? There are many other types of music that were designed with a studio in mind. And even for those bands that perform well live, live performances can often be quite different interpretations of the same music that complements a studio production.

do you think visiting MOMA online is the same as going to the museum itself?
No. But the contents of the MOMA are a selected sample. They have been selected because they display well in a museum. Art that displays well on your own PC is less likely to find a place in a museum. Additionally - audio reproduction is, in my opinion, way ahead of video reproduction. With good speakers and a good acoustic environment you might occasionally be forgiven for thinking that you just heard a real musical instrument. Nobody makes that mistake with their TV or monitor.

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]
Carrying around a live band in your pocket (none / 0) (#136)
by Nelziq on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:18:24 PM EST

Live music is great but I cant listen to a live band   (and have my instantaneous choice of band and song to listen to) while im cramped up in a tiny bathroom stall in the back of an airplane cruising at 30,000 feet. I can do that with my iPod though.

[ Parent ]
Open Source Music (4.70 / 10) (#120)
by jabber on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 05:12:01 PM EST

Your article brings up a point I find very interesting.

If you take the money out of the music industry, the only people left in it will be the ones who do it for the love of music, not the money. The true "hackers" of music. Not the dot-com era MCSE's with their IP patents, but the guys who give you their code for free, because they think it's cool.

And, should it so happen that once there is no more money to be made in the music business, and no one hears anything they like anymore, what then?

Open Source, DIY music. You want music to enjoy? Buy your own hardware, and write your own software to play on it. And if history does indeed rhyme, like Mark Twain said, some music geek in some little country, Scandinavian or otherwise, will light the fuse.

Has anyone experimented with this being more than just a metaphor? Has a geographically separate group of musicians ever collaborated remotely, on either a live performance, or on composing and constructing a piece of music, with each person in each place playing just one instrument?

I'd log in to a music stream server, and likely even contribute to it's costs, if I could hear quality, spontaneous jam sessions (or pre-sequenced pieces), which could be archived and distributed gratis to promote future events.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

remote collaboration: yes. (none / 0) (#127)
by s alpha on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 06:10:29 PM EST

tonos.com
costs $ tho.

[ Parent ]
Lag and costs (none / 0) (#131)
by meaningless pseudonym on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 06:23:17 PM EST

Think a ping time of 70ms is good? Not in music. I remember having significant problems rehearsing something once because the choir were all of 10m from the band and neither were amplified. By the time the sound of the band had travelled to them, they'd reacted and the sound of their singing had travelled back to the band, it was almost bad enough to be unplayable.

Also, good instruments are expensive. Studios are expensive, production is hard, laborious, skilled work, etc etc etc. If we want high quality music (sorry, I never bought in to punk or the current urban wave, both pushing _down_ the quality level) we need to get the money in or it'll only ever be the rich kids who have any chance at all.

Record companies have short-sighted marketing strategies and nasty contracts, media companies in general need to recognise the advertising value of fan distributed content (including periodic MP3s, most of us will have discovered bands / stayed interested based on home taping or other sources of 'pirate' content) and much modern music is just dull. But, sadly, your solution wouldn't help IMHO.

[ Parent ]

Umm.. (none / 0) (#142)
by jabber on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:45:05 PM EST

Ok, yes, there are serious technical issues to be dealt with for a live distributed performance. How about a bunch of people getting together in one place, and streaming from there?

Or, how about the same approach we take for programming OSS stuff? Someone cranks out great back-beats. Someone else lays down a baseline. Someone else puts a few alternative keyboard or guitar melodies on top, and the combination that is most appealing as it evolves is the one that best reflects the experience and ideas of the people who put it together.

Yes, instruments and studios are expensive. So are formidable home computers. So is the effort and experience needed to play and to code anything anyone else might want. Regardless of what you think about Moby's style of music, you have to admit that his cranking out stuff exclusively in his own home studio is pretty damned impressive. High quality instruments were available before the RIAA existed, and will be available after it has died.

All I did was toss out some suggestions, actually not even that, just a few thoughts. It's hardly a solution, just a different perspective.

And much modern music is dull exactly because people are doing it for the money, and the fame of stardom, not for the love of music. The profitability of the music "industry" is to blame for the crap that's out there.

Music is not an "industry". Music is an art form. Artists need to eat too, that is true, but true artists need to create whether they eat or not. It's been said that "talent does what it can, but genius does what it must". I think this applies well to the music scene of today. There are lots of people with talent, who do what they can, because they get money that way. The genius, often too temperamental and obscure to haul in the big bucks (and thus often unseen), still cranks out brilliance.

Yes, fan distributed content works. The Grateful Dead are a case in point. But the music "industry" need not adopt it to make this point clear. All that's needed is for some grass roots indy's to hit the popular aesthetic the right way. However, this is trying to please most of the people most of the time, and that just can't happen voluntarily.

What's needed then, is a representative body from behind which a large enough number of independent artists could try to appeal to the tastes of many. That body, and the means of distribution it "sponsors", would get the recognition and act as a front people could relate to. Sort of a neo-RIAA, without the BS we rile against.

Music is a medium. A foundation of some sort, to facilitate collaboration in this medium is what is needed. The "Collaborative Media Foundation" has a nice ring to it, but that name seems to be taken by an organization that doesn't seem to be doing much lately. ;) ha, ha, only serious, rusty. Honest!

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Musician / techy guy's POV (none / 0) (#288)
by meaningless pseudonym on Sat Feb 01, 2003 at 04:28:19 PM EST

(First, sorry for delay in replying, rather busy...)

Ok, yes, there are serious technical issues to be dealt with for a live distributed performance. How about a bunch of people getting together in one place, and streaming from there?

Streamed jamming? Sure, cool but you still need the hardware to do this and to get people together, plus it's not really revolutionary. It's also worth noting that most jams are discarded on the recording studio floor for a reason :-)

Or, how about the same approach we take for programming OSS stuff? Someone cranks out great back-beats. Someone else lays down a baseline. Someone else puts a few alternative keyboard or guitar melodies on top, and the combination that is most appealing as it evolves is the one that best reflects the experience and ideas of the people who put it together.

Dance music can be pretty close to that already but for other genres you tend to have the problem that if they're any good then they're playing off each other's performances. You need something to start it off (personally, I find it easiest starting with a bass line) but you can't just pull stuff out of catalogues, multitrack it and expect gems to result. It'll mostly sound pretty flat and for a reason.

If, OTOH, you're talking about doing that live, well, you've just discovered how some bands work :-)

Yes, instruments and studios are expensive. So are formidable home computers. So is the effort and experience needed to play and to code anything anyone else might want. Regardless of what you think about Moby's style of music, you have to admit that his cranking out stuff exclusively in his own home studio is pretty damned impressive. High quality instruments were available before the RIAA existed, and will be available after it has died.

I don't disagree in the least. I'm merely saying that if we move to a model where commercial exploitation of music isn't possible then some people simply won't be able to produce any quantity of music because their ideas, however valid, are too expensive for them to realise. Or, they have to put so much time and energy into their day jobs that they just can't do their music. Moby's actually a useful example here, having money in the family before he even started on music certainly helps...

And much modern music is dull exactly because people are doing it for the money, and the fame of stardom, not for the love of music. The profitability of the music "industry" is to blame for the crap that's out there.

Well, modern radio playlists aren't great but there's certainly decent music out there. If you only listen to mainstream radio (as some seem to) then complaining that its output is bland, derivative and overly commercial seems a trifle odd. I wouldn't call Muse dull to name the first into my head.

Music is not an "industry". Music is an art form. Artists need to eat too, that is true, but true artists need to create whether they eat or not. It's been said that "talent does what it can, but genius does what it must". I think this applies well to the music scene of today. There are lots of people with talent, who do what they can, because they get money that way. The genius, often too temperamental and obscure to haul in the big bucks (and thus often unseen), still cranks out brilliance.

Where's the nearest brick wall? Oh well...

Look. Some people have piles of talent in areas they can't afford to realise. By definition, if you have no means to support yourself through your music and no pre-existing support mechanism such as family wealth then you simply cannot dedicate yourself to music. You'll probably still produce _something_ but is it as strong a body of work as you could have completed otherwise? Unlikely. How many great musicians reach their musical peak on their first album? By reducing the chance of the second appearing (and so on with each subsequent album) we reduce the space for them to develop and realise their ideas.

What's needed then, is a representative body from behind which a large enough number of independent artists could try to appeal to the tastes of many. That body, and the means of distribution it "sponsors", would get the recognition and act as a front people could relate to. Sort of a neo-RIAA, without the BS we rile against.

This sadly falls foul of the problem that 50% of people are below average. If something is to take off that strongly it needs to be mainstream acceptable, which seems to be what you're railing against. And I really don't see how we stop the CIAA (or whatever we end up calling this thing ;-) from being just as evil in the end as the current bunch.

Modern technology makes music easier, no doubt. I'm beginning to play with things on my computer that there's no way I could have produced 10-15 years ago (assuming I was a similar person of my age then and not a 9 year old ;-) and the net allows me a potential distribution channel for whatever tuneless rubbish I ultimately produce. We do now have lower barriers to entry in some ways. We need to recognise, though, that removing copyright from music or other similar things would not help. Artists need to be able to sell their work and control its distribution if they are to produce to their potential and inevitably some will then try to push this control too far. We need to work to make the control sensible, not remove it altogether.

[ Parent ]

Open source music != (free|indy|live) music. (none / 0) (#196)
by Jetifi on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 06:58:58 AM EST

Free music is like freeware, or (if you're asking for donations) more like shareware.

The current music formats (mp3, ogg, wma, etc.) are finished products. You can't remix them, extract the original samples from one track and add them to another, or use in your own tracks.

The equivalent of open source music would be to provide all the samples you used, the accapellas (vocal tracks), all the other individual tracks, plus some sort of open-formatted description of how it all fits together and how it's mixed etc., or (at the very least) Cubase/ProTools/whatever files, and sheet music if there is any. And of course it goes without saying that this would all be digital. This would all have to be released under one of the Creative Commons licenses for this to work.

If people made this data available, then you'd see people take the lyrics of one tune, the bass from another, etc., to create something else. That's only the beginning, though.

Amateur DJs producing remixes without having to ask for permission, and gaining popularity for good work. Improvements to tracks could be made and beat mixing could get easier. I'm sure that people would come up with brilliant ways to capitalise on the freedom you'd give them that we couldn't imagine today, much like people do Photoshop tennis or remix Grammy speeches.

However, this'll never happen on a large scale. One, software such as ProTools and Cubase are far more expensive than a low-end Pentium and an ISO of <operating system x> - all you need to buy to start coding. Two, by giving away all the goodies I listed above, artists loose complete control of their work.

How many artists want that to happen? How many punters can be expected to respect your artistic wishes? You can't encode artistic wishes into a license. The effect of openness here is far more extreme than what happens with OSS/FS: a big software project can take months to acclimatize to, but ripping samples and using them as ringtones can be made very simple.

I can imagine that producing derivative works of any decent sound quality would be almost impossible today. Now, and for the next couple of years, you'd have to use some form of compression to distribute samples online. 65 minutes of .wavs at 16 bits/sample and 48000 Hz (stereo) is 700 MB. You'd need ultra-wideband.

The only upside I can see for the artist is increased creative possibilities due to all the free stuff available. The risks of bootlegging, plagiarism, copyright infringement go sky-high. Same for the labels. Again, in this situation, who'd need labels, except as a mark of quality? A good label would be like a good brand name for any other consumer product.

I'm approaching this from an electronic perspective (d'n'b, trance, downtempo, etc). That stuff is almost always digital in the first place. As far as I've been told, there just isn't a technology to replace vinyl for a DJ, yet. I know people who want ability to deconstruct tracks on the fly while still manipulating them as if they were vinyl. Maybe that's the killer app here.

So, firstly the bandwidth/storage capacity isn't available for the distribution of true open source music, unless each release came with another 1-8+ CDs of samples and metadata, Secondly, the software just isn't widely available, and by ''widely'' I mean as in ''emacs'' or ''linux''. Thirdly, most artists won't do it, despite how much easier it could make the lives of other artists. No one's watering the commons.

On the other hand, despite all this hand-waving, it's perfectly possible to start small. MP3, and a basic sequencer/mixer may be all you need. I say good luck to anyone trying that.



[ Parent ]
Cubase and loss of control (none / 0) (#213)
by jabber on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 11:56:26 AM EST

Programmers who deal with open source code also relinquish control of it. Yet, look around. Are musicians so much more uptight than coders? What sort of control do they need?

The Linux kernel was initially written by Torvalds. Since then, it's had more fingers in it than anyone can count. His name hasn't faded. Nor have Cox, Stallman, Wall, etc, etc.. They retain influence in the "scene" exactly because they give up control over the product.

Cubase may be too expensive, just as Photoshop, and Picture Publisher are too expensive. Then there's the Gimp. Oracle is hideously expensive, but mySql isn't. Visual C++.NET is expensive, but KDevelop isn't.

I have no experience with creating music, so quite honestly, I pulled these ideas out of my ass as I was typing them. However, the objections you and others have raised do not seem insurmountable.

Yeah, there's technical problems to making this happen. It is a leap of faith for the artists. But, I think there's potential here. Not necessarily to change the world, or to restructure the music industry completely, but to make some changes which would bring artists and fans closer together, without that nasty "business" layer in the middle.

Rather than completely discount the vague ideas I tossed in to the mix, I'd like to see where they might lead. What they might mutate into, and what parts of them are not completely ridiculous.

True, the current music storage/delivery formats are not good to work with for the artist. MIDI is dinky to listen to, most of the time. But, since we've cone up with so many different formats for so many different applications, maybe we could come up with a decent format that would allow artists to share and collaborate on unfinished pieces. This format need not be listener-ready like ogg or mp3. It could be tailored to music creation applications, which could output ogg once the project is done.

Just some thoughts. Just because they're not complete and irrefutable, soup to nuts, does not mean they are entirely without merit.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Barriers to entry, control (5.00 / 1) (#221)
by Jetifi on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 12:56:21 PM EST

Are musicians so much more uptight than coders?

Yes. Yes they are. :-)

One of the things signed artists hate more than anything else is bootlegging. Distributing samples etc. would not help them. And look at it this way: You've poured your heart into a song, sweated over the tracks, went through studio hell (the musician's equivalent to crunchtime) to produce this track, and then: you hear a ripped four-chord progression mangled as a ring-tone on some yuppie's mobile.

I agree that Linux, RMS etc. still have influence. But the difference is that there is a culture of free code that has existed since RMS hacked away on ITS. That's not the case in music. The culture is almost exactly the opposite of that.

The Gimp/MySQL/KDevelop analogy may be a good one - I've no idea. All these programs however were written because they scratched an itch for the programmer(s). If anyone has a link to an inexpensive or ~GPL program that does the equivalent of Cubase or ProTools, I'd be very interested.

I agree with you that there will be artists who would make the step, given the presence of an equivalent to open source community for musicians.

I've always thought that the first sign of anything like this happening would be for an artist somewhere to release the building blocks to their tracks, maybe as MP3/OGG on a 2nd CD, under a CC license or equivalent. For the first couple of people to do it, it would be seen as a gimmick, and would get press because of the ''Gates releases source?!'' aspect to it. If enough people do it, however, they might be onto something.

Just my .02 cents. (I should also state that I am not a musician, although I know several (unsigned) ones, so this could also be me blowing smoke).



[ Parent ]
Buzzmachines.com; too easy to get sued (none / 0) (#223)
by pin0cchio on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 01:08:56 PM EST

If anyone has a link to an inexpensive or ~GPL program that does the equivalent of Cubase or ProTools, I'd be very interested.

Has anybody reading this tried Buzz?

I agree with you that there will be artists who would make the step, given the presence of an equivalent to open source community for musicians.

An open source community for musicians won't happen because it's too easy to get sued for writing a song that's too similar to an existing song, even if you didn't try to copy anything. In software, you have the clean-room doctrine (no access to proprietary source code => no possibility of infringement) to protect you, but the record labels and music publishers do everything they can to taint everybody in the world with access to copyrighted music, so that they can lure would-be songwriters into copying their works by accident.

See also Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music.


lj65
[ Parent ]
How to beat the RIAA (2.66 / 3) (#121)
by joemorse on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 05:16:24 PM EST

So, write a song (even something as pathetically simple as three notes strung together), copyright it , put it on Kazaa with a similar name to some RIAA song, then watch for the RIAA to download it...then sue them for stealing your property :)

Now let's you just drop them pants!
       -Don Job, from Deliverance
bad things for the economy, good things for music (4.80 / 5) (#122)
by VoxLobster on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 05:46:40 PM EST

The record companies going under would be a bad thing for the economy. Lots of people would lose their jobs, and a large amount of cashflow would stop. But think about it from the standpoint of musicians. How many music acts are out there right now so that they can be famous/fabulously wealthy? Look at the whole hip-hop/rap scene right now, everything is about the "bling bling", or money. I've seen so many interviews with rap stars who openly admit they're only in it for the money that it is no longer funny. If the big record labels go under, I think that people who make music to be rich will start to fade out, and people who make music because it's what they love, and because it allows them to make an artistic expression will begin to move to the forefront. Or at least, that's what I hope would happen.

VoxLobster
I was raised by a cup of coffee! -- Homsar

Good point but.. (none / 0) (#278)
by chu on Fri Jan 31, 2003 at 09:25:30 AM EST

Good argument except that hip-hop is now the most innovative and accomplished music coming out of the US by a very long way.

[ Parent ]
Bic Runga [nt] (4.66 / 3) (#125)
by AtADeadRun on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 06:03:31 PM EST

Just as a note, if you liked Bic Runga -- who rules, incidentally -- you should check out the whole Kiwi (i.e., New Zealand) music scene. My personal favorites are The Exponents, The Mutton Birds and especially The Feelers. A good place to start, particularly if you like a college rock and/or electronic feel to your music, is 95bFM, a radio station in Auckland that streams mp3 24/7. Happy listening.

-------
Pain heals. Glory is forever. Keep running.

We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
mutton birds (none / 0) (#139)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:27:44 PM EST

i saw this nature channel thing that freaked me out one night. somewhere in new zealand is this large, flightless intelligent parrot that hunts in packs. they had footage of these things dismantling a car with their beaks with the occupants inside, and some more footage of these things sneaking up on a sheep and pecking and eating the thing while it was still alive and bleating.

freaked me out. dawn of the dead meets giant evil parrots. nightmarish freakish things.

are those things called mutton birds? is that what they are called?

and can you PLEASE keep them in new zealand... please? ;-P

C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

mutton birds vs parrots (none / 0) (#155)
by Peter Maxwell on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 10:27:21 PM EST

Good guess but no, those intelligent, bold, entertaining, thieving and occasionaly sheep-eating alpine parrots are keas. Mutton birds are a type of seabird, named for their flesh rather than their diet.

Keas can fly very well (how does a flightless bird get on top of a sheep anyway?). The very large, flightless, nocturnal parrot is the kakapo.

Just to round it out and prove that not all NZ birdlife is bizzare there is also the kaka, a perfectly ordinary forrest dwelling parrot.

[ Parent ]

speaking of bizarre new zealand birdlife (none / 0) (#166)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 12:35:00 AM EST

speaking of bizarre new zealand birdlife, is there any possiblity, a la jurassic park or what they are doing with the woolly mammoth, that someone will find a bit of bone marrow from the moa and bring them back to life???

from what i understand, the maori did them in only a few hundred years ago, so there might still be some "fresh" genetic material in a bone somewhere in a cave. i mean, those things stood 10-12 feet tall!!!

just think of the ranching possibilities! they could outnumber the sheep! lol

any word in maori folklore abot what these things might have tasted like? ;-P

C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

Moa DNA (5.00 / 1) (#175)
by Peter Maxwell on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 04:01:08 AM EST

There are plenty of moa bones in caves and mitochondial DNA has been extracted from a few of them (see the NCBI taxonomy browser). As for recovering the entire genome, I think it would be more difficult than a mammoth (frozen flesh is a much better starting material) but easier than a dinosaur.

[ Parent ]
cool! (none / 0) (#178)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 04:19:19 AM EST

i want my moa burger! lol ;-p
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]
It happened with the printing press to :) (4.81 / 11) (#126)
by Rahyl on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 06:07:14 PM EST

The similarities between today's music business and the scribe's guild of an era long past are striking.  Back in the day, it took 100% manual labor to create a book.  Once the printing press was invented, the scribe's panicked.  Acts of violence toward those who operated presses were common.

In the end, the printing press won and the scribes were out.  Technology won the day.  The same thing will happen with the music companies.  Before the internet, we needed the music companies for distribution, just like we used to need the scribes to write books.

Goodbye music companies.  We don't need you anymore.

Yeah, but.... (5.00 / 1) (#161)
by NFW on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 11:14:49 PM EST

Automated presses put scribes out of work, but it also made it possible for authors to sell their works to larger numbers of people.

Authors made more money than ever before as a direct result of the printing press.

Will musicians make more money when people can download their music for free?

I'm not convinced either way.

Don't get me wrong, I won't miss the record companies either. I won't the miss acts like NSync and Britney whose massive popularity was made possible by record industry market manipulation.

But I do wonder what P2P will do to the bottom line for non-superstar professional musicians. Maybe they'll make up for it with sales of concert tickets and t-shirts, maybe they won't. Will more great musicians get stuck working regular jobs to make ends meet after "CD sales" goes the way of the neighborhood ice delivery service?


--
Got birds?


[ Parent ]

Do you honestly want to know? (none / 0) (#188)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 06:05:28 AM EST

Yes and no. Yes, because most great musicians do end up working regular jobs anyway to make ends meet. No because file-sharing programs usually don't dent the market for independent(READ: BETTER) acts off of smaller labels.

Of course, I am showing my biases here. So I'll use a major label example. I honestly don't think that Radiohead could have come up with OK Computer if not for Capitol's money and studio time, nor could Wilco have created YHF if not for the oodles of cash and time that Reprise gave them. To be quite honest, p2p programs worry me a bit; I am willing to bet that the art will suffer if the larger labels go belly up. Of course, I don't believe they will anytime soon, or as long as their marketing beasts are still running free; I mean, seriously, exactly how many billions in profits did the industry make last fiscal year?

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

honestly, (none / 0) (#192)
by mikelist on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 06:29:26 AM EST

There is an economic advantage to free downloads, if the artist is well received, he will almost certainly see an increase in frequency of live shows as well as more lucrative ones. The idea of making bajillions of dollars playing music is ridiculous for most artists as the recording industry has found ways to be both supplier and customer to artists and the net take for the artist is often much less than one might believe. The solution is to use the Internet to boost your opportunities to play good paying live gigs.

[ Parent ]
Hmm. (none / 0) (#197)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 07:04:08 AM EST

I believe that I admitted that most musicians aren't paid all that well, but that certain great works could not have been created have the artists been working 40 hour weeks.

The internet is a dead medium as far as music promotion is concerned. The most successful live acts are the ones that tour constantly, and even then, any indie group can tell you that the costs to tour barely even out in comparison to the money they might make. Profitable shows normally do not show up until after major label buzz, which is once again normally built by busting one's ass in a sweaty van for years.

I think that I can safely say that every single musician's dream is to score that major label contract. Not because of the fame or because they think they might be millionaires, but because it offers financial security, i.e. "I am a musician for a living!" Most groups that bother to get a decent lawyer don't get tangled up in the messes that the daily flavors end up in.

But honestly, the 'net doesn't help at all as far as drawing crowds, unless one is "hipped" to MTV as the next big thing, which is once again normally done by a major label. That's how current indie flavor of the month Interpol got their foot in, for example.
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

Lawyers cost money... (none / 0) (#198)
by Kruador on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 08:54:22 AM EST

Unfortunately, unless you're Britney's sister, you generally can't afford a good lawyer for the first deal. And the first deal is the one where the record company shafts you.

After that, if the first deal went well enough, in theory you could use another record company as a bargaining counter to get a better deal. If it didn't, you probably owe your first company a huge amount and can't get out of the deal.

Artists with huge amounts of cash can sometimes buy their way out of a deal (cf George Michael). Of course it cuts both ways (cf Mariah Carey).

The general structure of the deal is that the cost of producing the material comes out of your royalties - i.e. the cost of hiring the recording studio, the backing musicians, the engineer's time spent 'correcting' the bloody awful performance that's all most 'artists' are capable of...

...sorry, got carried away. In the meantime, the company advances you loans against royalties to live on until your record is successful. Since this is a practically bottomless pit - they want you to be a slave after all - the artist tends to spend beyond what the royalties could bring in.

Meanwhile your royalties are only a small proportion - maybe 1-2% - of the sale cost of the singles/album. Strangely, the artists that produce the cover art seem to do better out of the deal than the people writing and performing the music.

It can take twenty years for bands and performers to notice that they got suckered, and that in fact despite having had million-selling singles and albums, they actually owe the record company by the terms of the contracts.

What can be done?

Firstly, I don't think it helps for people to download the material. If you really like the material, go buy it. Unfortunately there's no way to give the artist their royalties directly and bypass the company that shafted them.

Secondly, artists need to read the contracts carefully, and avoid taking the free lunch. Which is very difficult to do, of course.

--
Kruador


[ Parent ]

Well, yes. (none / 0) (#244)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 08:14:19 PM EST

This is common knowledge, isn't it? However, hiring a decent lawyer to look over a contract for you is not that expensive, especially if one sticks to contacts in the "indie" world; looking over a contract normally does not go over $250-300, and a renegotiation fee would probably only be another $400-$500. Yes, that is about $800 dollars total, but in the long run, that's not that expensive (think about how much you paid for that computer you're sitting in front of).

And yes, I think that we're on agreeance here that downloading an artist's material does not help the artist.

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

1-2%? (none / 0) (#277)
by chu on Fri Jan 31, 2003 at 09:19:14 AM EST

1-2% sounds way low to me. I'm aware of 8-14% being typical (in a properly negotiated deal). I know it can go lower if you're selling volumes like Madonna (shows age) but at that point we are talking about a huge production with mega-marketing, separate publishing deals and huge money for the artist.

I think most people know that they should get a good music lawyer when they are signing but there are always going to be the type of people who would sign anything to get on TV. It doesn't really help that so many artists decide that they should live like 'proper pop stars' the minute they sign and go everywhere by limo but that isn't really anybody else's fault. I used to know a guy from a band that got the biggest ever advance for a new signing back in the 80's - they spent the whole lot over about 18 months on smack (I don't think they ever delivered the album). A good manager can prevent a lot of this but they are hard to come by and many bands don't see the need until after they have screwed up.

[ Parent ]

who this is hurting (none / 0) (#276)
by chu on Fri Jan 31, 2003 at 08:53:26 AM EST

small indie labels operate on ridiculously tight margins and their core audience a) have very limited budgets b) are the biggest users of p2p. You can be absolutely sure that diversity will be the first thing to go as indies go belly up and majors consolidate. This already started to happen from around last summer and is also reflected at the distributor level.

[ Parent ]
can't stop technology? (4.00 / 2) (#130)
by tichy on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 06:22:09 PM EST

First of all, I voted +1 FP because I think you articulate very well my own feelings about this issue.

But, can technology be stopped? If a new technology emerges which has some applications, some anticipated, some not, does it mean that people will automatically make use of all those applications, just because they exist?

I don't think so. Technology doesn't drive society, because society drives technology. The "can't stop technology" view is flawed, it's an alogical short circuit to avoid having to justify the desire to use a particular technology. Technology doesn't use itself, people use it, and they do so because they consider the use to be positive, so if a substantial amount of people share this view, then the raise of that technology is inevitable. But it's not because the technology "just exists", it's because people think that way.

While in this particular case I agree that this technology is desirable, this does not mean I believe that some mysterious God of Technology is what makes me desire it. It is something else: me. And I have to justify it or understand it somehow.

How, I'm not sure but I think it's related to the view that cultural industries are a tradeoff that has expired its usefulness. The access to culture in the form of books, music, etc was greatly expanded in the last century thanks to it, (and our current western educated-middle-classes societies could not have happened without them) but now that it's almost-0$-cheap to copy information and almost all cultural artifacts can be reduced to it, then clearly this new avenue is much more efficient, thus better, and we can do away with the not-so-beneficial (non-efficiency related) consequences of cultural industries, e.g its tendency to dictate what we should like rather than the other way around, and to reduce things to the lowest common denominator on the assumption that, since most people are stupid, it's what will sell best.

I don't claim to have a clue how it will sort itself out - I have no idea how musicians will (or should be) compensated, for instance. But I think it will, because people will always want music, books, etc. So other people will produce them. But will we have less variety, or less accessibility? How could we, when this same technology (or group of technologies) gives people not only the freedom to distribute but also to create far more easily than anyone dreamed of a few decades ago?

These are the real reasons why I think that you can't stop this technology; because I think this way and so do a lot of people.

Society <> Sum of Individuals (4.00 / 1) (#141)
by tudlio on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:43:28 PM EST

I think you're absolutely right that society drives the adoption of technology, not vice versa. However, I think that there are deep, messy, chaotic, emergent rules that govern the behavior of society, rules that are totally separate form the rules that govern individual behavior.

Which is mostly an ancillary distinction in the present context, but one I think is important because it means that no individual or even group of individuals can decide how technology will be adopted. In other words, to the author's point, the RIAA won't get to decide what happens, nor will any group of pimply-faced teenagers.




insert self-deprecatory humor here
[ Parent ]
Amish (n/t) (none / 0) (#173)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 03:18:54 AM EST


-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Technology doesn't redefine our will. (4.62 / 8) (#143)
by Sloppy on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:56:13 PM EST

Look how technology redefines a landscape- the economic one, the social one, and even the moral one. Look how unintended consequences rule the day. The Gun. Point and click killing for anyone.
Oh, you brought up the Gun! This is going to be fun.

I can think of plenty of reasons why it might be in my interest to buy a gun an go kill someone. Maybe I want the contents of their wallet. But I don't do it, because that's not how I want the world to be. Indeed, almost all of us agree we don't want the world to be that way, so we decided to have a law against murder.

The invention of the gun did not change that law at all. It's not like we all said, "Well, nothin' we can do about it. Killin' has gotten too easy, might as well repeal that obsolete law. The gears of historical forces no one can control are turning. A spigot is being opened up on a root human desire that dates to the time when all I could do was throw rocks at people. Blood wants to run free!"

The ease of copyright infringement does not make a law against copyright infringement outdated, any more than the gun made murder outdated.

What can make the law against copyright infringement outdated, is if we change our minds about what we want. Do you want professional entertainers, or do you want artists?

Most of us say we prefer artists. But the very thing the RIAA is complaining about losing, is something we claim we aren't interested in downloading anyway. RIAA doesn't give a flying fuck if you download songs by an underground artist (who probably isn't in RIAA anyway). They want to stop the people who are biting into their revenues.

"Oh, but Britney sucks," you might say, as you drive by a sold-out stadium full of her fans. That's the problem; "we" aren't very representative of society. Society wants the entertainers, and doesn't care about the artists. Thus, society still wants copyright law.

(Oh, and if you do download mainstream music, then you're a hypocrit. You want flashy professional entertainment, which cost the advertisers money to program you to want, but don't want to pay for it?!)

You'll know it's time to repeal copyright law, when the RIAA complains that nobody pirates their products anymore, because nobody wants them. Then Art will have won, and copyright will be obsolete.
"RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."

Guns Have a Network Effect (4.00 / 1) (#151)
by meehawl on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 09:34:01 PM EST

The ease of copyright infringement does not make a law against copyright infringement outdated, any more than the gun made murder outdated.

But because of the network multiplier of guns (that is, 20 trained line marksmen are *way* more effective than 20 lone sharpshooters) evolving States were able to increase their monopoly of violence to such a degree that they could rigorously enforce anti-murder edicts.



Mike Rogers www.meehawl.com
[ Parent ]
Technology changes the balance of power (5.00 / 2) (#152)
by bevanArps on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 09:45:01 PM EST

Oh, you brought up the Gun! This is going to be fun.

I think you're right - especially since your own comments show a great lack of knowledge about the impact that the Gun had on history.

My history is a little rusty now, but IIRC, many hundreds of years ago the French Army used to rule much of Europe because it could defeat almost anyone else.

Then, the English invented the Long-bow and all of a sudden, French tactics that had worked for a century became suicidal. So, the English army became very powerful because noone could beat them.

Then someone (I forget who) invented the Gun, and shortly thereafter, the Cannon. Again, the pendulum swung the other way and armies with large numbers of archers became archaic.

It's not that invention of the Gun changed the law to make murder OK - it's that major technological advances tend to change the balance of power significantly.

The advent of Digital music and the internet changes the balance of power *away* from the record labels, towards the artists and consumers, redering the existing structure unstable.



[ Parent ]
Chinese and Canons (none / 0) (#200)
by Kintanon on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 09:47:49 AM EST

The chinese invented gunpowder, the military usage was originally in Rockets, essentially giant fireworks aimed at the enemy. Europeans built canons  after obtaining gunpowder from the chinese. Miniturization followed years later and you got Blunderbusses, then Muskets, and Pistols, then later the modern firearm.
No longer did you require an army of highly trained soldiers to conquer your neighbor, now the weakest of farmers could pick up a musket and take out a fully armored knight on horeseback. Once you stick enough of those guys in a row, aim is meaningless. War became more of a numbers game than ever.
You could no longer count on a skillfull knight to hold off 3 or 4 peasants, or even more...

This was the true introduction of the modern concept of warfare. Once coupled with the Total Warfare doctrine of the Huns and their descendents our modern view of combat was created.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

disagree (none / 0) (#275)
by chu on Fri Jan 31, 2003 at 08:19:56 AM EST

With p2p as it currently stands the balance of power is tilted away from the artist towards the freeloader. The label just acts as a service for the artist and suffers with them. Unless the artist is a good programmer, they would have to use a service like mp3.com to collect their dues. If there is any money to be made in servicing artists online, I'm sure the labels will start doing this themselves (and if they didn't, online labels would appear).

The alternative that is being hinted at in this discussion is to bypass the middlemen by building delivery, collection and accounting mechanisms into the infrastructure. But even then and even if this was an open-source free and secure solution (rather than an MS tollbooth), you will have to pay transaction charges, electricity, bandwidth, delivery charges for physical items. You will have just shifted from one set of middlemen to another. You will also have become more dependent on your OS, bandwidth, electricity, delivery suppliers and removed diversity from the economy and shops from the street.

[ Parent ]

music in the 20th (4.75 / 4) (#149)
by hypno on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 09:06:38 PM EST

A time where the popular music of the day was not led by purely commercial interests is hardly within memory now. I think that sometime beginning in the 70's, as record companies realised the power they could wield over their young and impressionable customer base, things began to go wrong. As I did not live during the time, I can only guess from the styles of music in the 60s and earlier that record companies seemed to follow rather than direct artists. Perhaps this is misinformed, in which case please correct me.

Extremely talented artists are producing great work now as ever but it seems to me that in the last couple of decades the most popular music is music that is designed to be exactly that, and backed up with enough advertising to make sure of the fact. I don't know who is supposed to "decide" which is good music and which is bad, but i for one think that reducing music to the status of a product, to be packaged and sold is a terrible practice. Have things always been this way?

I hope not, and i hope things will change and that's why i've been watching this apparent groundswell of people who for a number of reasons seem to be adopting the attitude of not being entirely bothered whether the record companies continue to exist, and damn the morals of stealing their "intellectual property" " with interest.

As the poster wrote,

Death to music!

Long live music!

No, you aren't wrong. (none / 0) (#186)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 05:56:56 AM EST

There was a time when most folks wanted to expose people to good music first, make money second. Mind you, it was still terribly important for them to make money, but usually, their tastes came before their wallets. And it did end right around the 70s or so - arguably during that time span when Star Wars was released.

However, why is packaging and selling music so wrong? Art is pointless if it is not given exposure. As such, all artists want their works to be exposed to as many people as possible. And just as painters expect to be paid for their paintings and writers for their books, musicians should rightfully be paid for their songs. Mind you, I'm no supporter of the RIAA and their sabre-rattling, but if people actively listen and download a certain artist's work, they should feel obligated to pay that artist. Doesn't mean I don't support file-sharing, though. It's pretty good exposure for the independent music scene.

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

yes, you are wrong ;) (none / 0) (#274)
by chu on Fri Jan 31, 2003 at 07:49:19 AM EST

The music biz exerted huge control over artists  and their image in the 50's and 60's and they even segregated black and white music in the USA. There was a lot of creativity in the late 60's early 70's period and though that music seems very mainstream now, it was much more left-field then. We still have that creativity now but it's much more widely dispersed as there is now no effective barrier to recording - basically substitute Pink Floyd for Autechre. Record labels will always exert control over big budget artists (i.e. the ones that most people have heard of) as they need to protect their investment. Manufactured pop acts are just an extension of this that the free market seems to favour.

[ Parent ]
Yikes! (none / 0) (#300)
by barkway on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 07:15:03 PM EST

You weren't ALIVE in the 70's? Ok, have I signed on to the Teen Tech Channel here or something?

No wonder no one here knows where to find the copyright clause in the Constitution!


[ Parent ]

or 60's for that matter (none / 0) (#301)
by barkway on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 07:16:25 PM EST

yup, 60's too.

[ Parent ]
Technological Determinism (4.80 / 5) (#150)
by meehawl on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 09:29:58 PM EST

Look how technology redefines a landscape...
The gears of historical forces no one can control are turning. A spigot is being opened up on a root human desire that dates to the time when we sat around a campfire and beat a drum all night long....

So first of all you say technology determines culture - the classic Marxist/structuralist view of social development.

Then you say that culture determines technology, the classic post-structuralist view of social development.

Isn't it more likely that it's a bit of both? Sometimes, for reasons we can't quite put our finger on, the time is just right for technologies to develop. Culture drives research and development, but also constrains its success and diffusion.

The really interesting question is how to divvy up between these twin approaches within socioeconomics. You say I am not going to feed you the "information wants to be free" technoanarchist/ maoist party line., but isn't it possible that this phrase became popular as our society moved from a situation of information scarcity to information glut. And around the same time (indeed to future cultural historians they will seem simultaneous) technologies to enable non-elite citizens to reproduce and redistribute information almost effortlessly became prominent and refined.

I submit that both these events are in fact epiphenomena that proceed from the same substructural social impetus. Living in a society where information has been becoming progressively cheaper and more portable, how could we not.

I note that up until the invention of paper, copying a typical "book" using vellum required a pretty sizable flock of sheep, an enormous investment of time, labour, and food, and that was just for the sheep. Then you had to pay the damn monks, or feed them. In those marginally productive agricultural economies, this represented a huge undertaking. This was a situation that persisted for millenia, until movable type and paper and lithography and web offset paved the way for dime store novels. But people stil had to want dime store novels. The transformation of merchant's daybooks into diaries, then epistolary novels, and then novels, and then genre also contributed to this development. File sharing has a long way to go before its impact equals this transformation.



Mike Rogers www.meehawl.com
Remember, (4.66 / 6) (#153)
by bjlhct on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 10:16:17 PM EST

When somebody downloads a CD, they have done no harm. When somebody downloads a CD instead of buying it, they are making the RIAA less money, so they have less to do some evil, which is a good thing, and saving some money, which they can use for something worthwhile.

Wired says it best: "Would you steal a CD from a CD store? No, not yours, Britney."

*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism

Subscription is one way out for the labels (4.80 / 5) (#154)
by mveloso on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 10:18:09 PM EST

Music by subscription might work, if the majors wanted to try. $19.95 a month gives you everything, plus a really nice interface to the music library so you can find related music plus fast downloading speed.

The benefits?

1) the music industry gets to track exactly who is listening to what, where. This allows them to focus promotions in on the people who really matter (the listeners) instead of trying to shotgun promotions.

2) users get whatever the f*ck they want, and it's high-quality and high-bandwidth. Plus everyone sort of would pay for it if it was easy enough and cheap enough. You can beat free, if the price is right.

3) the possibility to vastly expand your revenue stream by pulling in $20 monthly from a much larger base. F*ck radio - you can stick a high-quality net-streaming in your house, car, whatever, and all that $$ goes right to the studios (and the electronic manufacturers)

Look at what Blockbuster is doing with the Season Pass thing - $24.95/month for all you can eat movies. Heck, you can't beat that with a stick. Watch 5 movies, and you've paid for your month, and everything past that is gravy.

Likewise for the music industry - once you download more than 15 songs, you've bought a cd, and everything else is free. But why waste space on your drive if you can get music right from the source anytime, anywhere? Duh - you wouldn't.

They could tier stuff, so you could have rock, pop, classical, soundtracks, etc at different rates, or maybe each one is a different subscription.

Would it work? Who knows? But the current model won't survive the era of High Bandwidth, that's for sure.

Re: Subscription is one way out for the labels (none / 0) (#170)
by kaosmunkee on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 02:01:29 AM EST

This exists (for the most part) and it's $10/month, not $20. I've been a Rhapsody subscriber for a few months now and I love it. Listen to whatever you want as often as you want... don't have to worry about a local copy... listen from anywhere there's broadband access...

I'd say that they have about 80% of the music that I look for, and the catalog seems to be growing. Sure, I'd be a lot happier if they had 100%, but this is a positive first step for the music industry.

-kaosmunkee

[ Parent ]
Setup fees add up (4.00 / 1) (#220)
by pin0cchio on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 12:48:59 PM EST

This exists (for the most part) and it's $10/month, not $20. I've been a Rhapsody subscriber

If your primary computer is anything but an x86-based PC running Windows, there's a $300 setup fee, broken down as $200 for an x86 architecture PC by Microtel from Walmart.com, and $100 for a single-seat license for the Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition operating environment. That's worth twenty CDs.

listen from anywhere there's broadband access...

So, in other words, it's actually $30 per month, the price of about two CDs. For a user who is currently behind dial-up Internet access, the marginal cost of upgrading to broadband is at least $20/mo ($40/mo for broadband minus $20/mo for dial-up). Some users live more than four kilometers from the telephone company (no DSL) and in a town whose cable company has not yet upgraded its lines to provide for Internet access (no cable); for those users, the setup cost could reach $200,000, which includes the cost of moving the user's family to a house in a geographical area reached by a cable Internet access provider or by a DSL Internet access provider. And unless Rhapsody allows users to burn CDs from downloaded recordings, there's another problem: No consumer-priced technology exists to provide broadband Internet access from moving vehicles.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Re: Setup fees add up (none / 0) (#253)
by kaosmunkee on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 06:00:38 AM EST

Sure, there is a requirement that you have hardware and broadband access. But saying that access to Rhapsody requires a $300 hardware/software investment and an additional $20/month in broadband access costs is only accurate if you're using your broadband access and x86 Microtel box exclusively for listening to music.

I don't know about you, but I use my PC and broadband access for much more than that, and given the fact that my comment was in response to a person wondering why such a service wasn't available, I don't know how that's even relevant.

-kaosmunkee

[ Parent ]
Sorry for not clarifying my assumption (none / 0) (#257)
by pin0cchio on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 09:34:55 AM EST

is only accurate if you're using your broadband access and x86 Microtel box exclusively for listening to music.

Which was part of my assumption of a Mac user perfectly happy with dial-up access, right? (I myself once fell into that category.) I apologize for not making my assumption clearer.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Sorry, missed your last point... (none / 0) (#254)
by kaosmunkee on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 07:06:41 AM EST

Rhapsody does allow you to burn CD's from a large portion of their database. This is not included in the monthly subscription, unfortunately... it costs $0.99/track. Not free, it's true, and I've never used this "feature" of Rhapsody, but it's there.

-kaosmunkee

[ Parent ]
Live365 (5.00 / 1) (#191)
by cgenman on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 06:25:03 AM EST

Thousands of internet streams, ad-supported, $5 per month for ad-free listening. The most obscure of genres represented.Live365.com

The cool thing about this model, is that it is filtered through other people's tastes. One of the major, and real, complaints about Kazaa is that it is difficult to know what new music is good and what is junk. In streaming radio, a fanboy or fangirl somewhere makes a playlist of things they think rock, and expose you to that music.

Very cool, really.
- This Sig is a mnemonic device designed to allow you to recognize this author in the future. This is only a device.
[ Parent ]

Greet the new (4.66 / 3) (#156)
by spacejack on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 10:32:36 PM EST

patrons of the arts.

Theres alot more to it.. (4.66 / 3) (#159)
by MuteWinter on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 11:02:25 PM EST

Don't limit this to just music companies. It applies to any information-based good. Besides music, that includes books, software, code, movies, television episodes, etc.

Many times violence occurs because of one thing: change. Changing technology means that the blacksmith who used to make horseshoes is going to be put out of business when the motor car comes along. Do we take a socialist stance and say this guy should still be equally compensated, even if his skills are no longer needed? Should we take a Luddite view and simply outlaw the motor car? Do we say, "hey let the free market decide whats going to happen?"

If you think Kazaa is a serious issue today because the music industry might stop making a shitload, of money, how much more serious is it going to be, 20 or 30 years down the road when machines start unemploying even more people than ever before?

I say let the market sort this one out, just as it has in the past. Do you actually believe musicians are going to stop making quality music because of the inability to make millions and millions of dollars? Most of these talented guys are more worried about having enough money to get by from day to day. Lets use the internet to spread the word about them so they still can. (people do go to concerts and buy t-shirts you know)

Comment on limiting this to Music... (5.00 / 1) (#163)
by Lord Snott on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 11:39:18 PM EST

It IS the music and movie industry that is complaining.

Teeny boppers don't play on their parents computers to download books or code. Thats nerdy.

Porn? Music? Movies? TV episodes? Yeah!! Thats cooool.

How many wankers did have I seen over the last couple of years downloading SHITLOADS of MP3's, 99% of which they'll never listen to.

One guy I know has 6 Gig of MP3's. He's doesn't even like most of the stuff he downloaded. He got it because he could. He doesn't download MP3's anymore, the novelty wore off.

I'm ranting. My point was, only the music and movie industry is complaining, because they're the only ones who's revenues are dropping. I don't even think it has anything directly to do with file-swapping, per se, but file-swapping is causing Britney's novelty value to wear off quicker.

When I was a teenager, Debbie Gibson was the Barbie doll teens lusted after. Where is she now? Mainstream celebs have a shorter shelf life now.

What was my point again? Oh yeah, I need a Bourbon.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This sig in violation of U.S. trademark
registration number 2,347,676.
Bummer :-(

[ Parent ]

Very serious... (4.00 / 1) (#169)
by pla on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 01:56:45 AM EST

How much more serious is it going to be, 20 or 30 years down the road when machines start unemploying even more people than ever before?

It will get a *LOT* more serious, as those with power/money/property fight to keep it, at the same time as actual human labor becomes almost totally obsolete.

Now, I don't mean this in the typical "down with the Man!" manner... Although I think our society has problems with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, I know enough sociology and economics to realize redistribution of the wealth won't solve our problems.

But this doesn't *just* involve redistribution of wealth - The entire model of "value" that we have used (with reasonable success) in a world of resource scarcity appears on the verge of collapse. The entire idea of "scarcity" simply no longer applies. Human labor as a commodity doesn't apply, because humans don't need to work to produce what they need to survive.

No, we haven't *quite* reached that point, in all aspects of our lives. Necessities came first, so we have industrial ag to grow our food. "important" conveniences (as someone mentioned, refrigeration) came next. Now, even luxuries such as having a high quality musical performance *just for me* no longer requires vast amounts of human labor (and steadily decreasing - any two-bit artist can record an almost studio-quality album in their basement with $5k in equipment). And the very topic at hand demonstrates that the tried-and-true music *distribution* model no longer has a place in the world.

Some authors (R.A. Wilson, to name one) have described this, for example, as the "hedonistic revolution". Not in a negative way, though, more that after 100,000 years or so of mastering our environment, we can finally *enjoy* the fruits of 3000 generations of humans' work. We can enjoy our world, rather than seeing it as our enemy in need of conquering.

No one, however, will make a great deal of money (since no one will have a great deal to spend) in such conditions, though. And *that* will end up in violence, as those who can't break away from the "work = worth" mindset fight against those who realize that work no longer means survival.


[ Parent ]
We've been there before (none / 0) (#273)
by chu on Fri Jan 31, 2003 at 07:22:10 AM EST

What you are proposing is just the law of the jungle. Copyright laws were a recent construct designed specifically to allow people to make money from their music. If we hadn't done that musicians would be mainly making their money at gigs, bars, restaurants, weddings. You might disagree with copyright but you should understand that it is a democratically and international consensus and is designed precisely to apply control over the 'free' market. Also it doesn't prevent a musician making their money the old 'minstrel' way - just that most of them don't choose to and prefer a copyright-based business. The only people copyright impinges on here are those who don't want to pay the musician for their music.

[ Parent ]
In my grandfather's day... (4.80 / 15) (#160)
by NFW on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 11:07:10 PM EST

I was talking with my grandfather a couple weeks ago about the refrigeration technology he grew up with. When he was a boy he used to go down to a shop in his neighborhood to buy blocks of ice, which he would pull home in his wagon, and that kept the family ice box cool for a few days.

Refrigeration at that time was too expensive to have in your home, but a single refrigerator shop would sell chunks of it to everyone, and that's just the way things were. If you wanted to keep your vegetables cool, you bought ice from a shop down the street.

Coolness was really expensive though. There were only a few distributors, and they worked together to keep prices high. The actual ice makers were always complaining about how little money they made, how the distributors played bookkeeping games so the coolness makers ended up owing money even after selling tons of ice. But, people really wanted to keep stuff cool, and ice makers all dreamed of scoring a huge contract with a distributor (the few lucky ones who did raked in millions), so things went on like this for years.

Then technological revolution came, and people were suddenly bringing coolness right into their homes, through the electrical system, and circumventing the ice distributors entirely. At first it was just a few people, but over time more and more people had a box (or two!) at home that kept vegetables and diary products cool, without relying on the ice distributors. It was clear that some day soon, coolness would be distributed without the use of ice at all. People could just plug in a box and have all the coolness they wanted.

At that point, the Refrigeration Industry Association of America (or RIAA, as they were know) make a huge fuss about how this new technology was destroying their business model. RIAA sued the makers of these new machines, saying that this new technology was costing them money. RIAA lobbied congress to get a surcharge added to all electric bills, claiming that it was only fair, since electricity was what made personal refrigeration possible.


--
Got birds?


Frozen water == Art? (5.00 / 1) (#236)
by ThoughtMachine on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 03:29:36 PM EST

I enjoyed reading your analogy, but I do think that this analogy is flawed.

Once someone builds an ice machine, ice falls out of the machine block after block with no additional creativity required.

Art is very different.  Each piece of art requires creativity.

One of my concerns about downloading music for free is that this creativity is not properly being fueled.  If this trend were to continue, then we would end up getting what we paid for.

Fundamentally, artist should be paid for their work.  This is what allows people to specialize and become dedicated artists.  How they get paid will be an interesting marketing and technological issue for many years, and likely involve technology that we are not going to particularly like.

A glimpse of a possible future:  would you really object to the following?

- Technology that inhibits the sharing of files between other people, but allows you to make back ups, and listen to your music on any device that you own.
- Free high-quality samples of all music (1 minute or so of the song)
- $1 for a high-quality version of an entire album that "expires" in one week
- $0.10 - $1 for a high-quality mp3 ($1 for big hits)
- $0.50 - $2 for CD-quality song
- $1 - $2 for DVD-A quality song
Rate low? Why so? It's bad form to rate low and run.
[ Parent ]

Right. Mostly... (none / 0) (#250)
by NFW on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 01:31:03 AM EST

Your objection is well-founded, as is the other reponse to my post.

I'm kind of surprised my post was rated as highly as it was. CD distributors are going the way of the ice shop due to technological progress, but there is still a very real problem when it comes to getting artists the compensation they deserve.

DRM is, in theory, a useful and reasonable thing. On the other hand, I think that reliable DRM a pipe dream, and will remain so for a decade or three at least.

I also fear that it will be used to replace the stifled and manipulated pseudo-markets that we see today in FM radio and MTV. It will be the tool that prevents independent labels from getting the word out.

What if the major labels only licensed DRM playback technology to companies that promised not to create devices that play content from indie labels? If people have to choose between a $120 car stereo that plays FM radio and the major label catalogs, or a $450 unit that plays everything BUT major label releases, who wins and who loses?


--
Got birds?


[ Parent ]

bad analogy (5.00 / 1) (#247)
by bolthole on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 09:52:53 PM EST

that doesnt match the situation in many ways, but the biggest is:

Ice is a commodity. The ice you make it home, is the same as your neibour's ice, is the same as my ice, more or less.

A recording of music, is unique to the combination of musicians that made it. YOU cannot make it yourself at home, reguardless of how much technology you have.

To put it another way: There are thousands of elvis impersonators, but there was only one elvis :-)

[ Parent ]

Bic Runga (4.25 / 4) (#162)
by Lennier on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 11:36:20 PM EST

I ran across someone called "Bic Runga" the other day in a glimpse of a magazine. She's a Chinese/ Maori lounge singer from Malaysia.

*Ahem*.

That's New Zealand to you. Bic's as Kiwi as hobbits and Marmite and we're very proud of her down here. Her big sister Boh's band, Stellar*, is also doing well.

Those of you who *cough* can't tell New Zealand from Malaysia *cough* may still have heard Bic's voice without realising it. She's the female vocalist on the songs 'Sway' and 'Good Morning Baby' from the American Pie 1 soundtrack.

;-P (none / 0) (#164)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 12:20:59 AM EST

i knew she was a kiwi, i mean i said she was half maori... turns out i confused her with her mother... i thought she made her name in malaysia:

"Well, dad always had a passion for the arts and was a driving force behind us being creative," offers Boh. "And mum was a lounge singer in Malaysia," adds Bic. "She travelled around Malacca and Singapore and all over singing with bands in fancy hotels, looking like a superstar, wearing these gorgeous evening dresses. The photos from that time are amazing.

to all the kiwis out there: my apologies. i goofed. the last thing i wanted to do was have the wrath of the kiwis descend upon me by dissing their favorite daughter. it was unintended. forgive me as a clueless american please???
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

my cousin recorded his cd in his house (1.33 / 3) (#167)
by auraslip on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 01:11:23 AM EST

and it sounds better then most major label records.
link : http://www.gregdean.net/

Technology will affect the production aspect as well as the distibution.
124

Buy an ad NT (2.00 / 1) (#176)
by starsky on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 04:08:59 AM EST

.

[ Parent ]
Quality of recordings (5.00 / 1) (#233)
by victim on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 02:11:26 PM EST

I popped over and gave a listen. A credible work. Not my sort of music, but nicely done. But... The technical end of recording is not where popular music happens. I see the comparison between independent musicians and the traditional megacorp model like this...
  1. Musicianship - The labels use their A&R folks to skim the cream from thousands. They assemble sidemen and studio musicians that can provide instant high quality performance on nearly any piece. Independents choose their musicians from a much smaller pool. Weaker players show up more. That isn't bad in my view, music is made by people, but you are less likely to get those 12 tracks of flawless work by every musician.
  2. Recording - it only takes a a couple thousand dollars of gear and an ear to record music which is basically indistinguishable from high end recording studio work when compressed to 128kbps MP3. Moving to higher quality is a diminishing return for each dollar spent. $100,000 of studio gear, $200,000 of physical architecture and a really good engineer will get you marvelous results, but the world seems awfully happy with 128kbps mp3s.
  3. Vision - After the first recording, the label will have a producer with a cattle prod working the artists over to get them to make commercially viable music. Artists usually don't like this, but the labels are pretty good at this. If an artist's goal is to sell a million records and be a household name, then that requires a strategic plan. Sometimes it means "crank out more of the same", sometimes it means "go this direction". I find in recording independent musicians that getting them to produce diversity difficult. (The artist in the parent comment is a good example. He's doing his stuff well, but could mix up his arrangement and feel. Maybe this is his "first release".)
  4. Marketing - This is the biggie. Everytime I hear people complain about buying a CD for one track I have to fight the urge to knock them down and beat their heads on the floor. Why do you think you want that track? Did you survey the 200,000 tracks released this year and choose that as the best? The labels can't predict hits well, but they can spend millions to market 100 likely tracks by different artists and see what people bite on. Unmarketed tracks almost never become hits. (People usually do not latch on to a hit on first listening. After a few listenings their perception of the song rises.) Lose the label model and you lose the concept of a hit song. Even if you don't listen to hits of your favorite genre, they provide a kind of target for future work and keep a genre focused.
If the label model of music fails (and I think it will) there will be a void to be filled. People want to be told what to listen to, they don't want to sift through 100 bands and ask themselves "Do I like this?". Someone, somewhere is going to take up that function. MTV? Magazines? If I knew what would take this function I'd be building it now. mp3.com used to serve as a prototype of this, now they just serve as a pitiful example of a labels trying to adapt the future to provide for them.

[ Parent ]
so fuck major lables (none / 0) (#239)
by auraslip on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 03:49:13 PM EST

Only 99% of even musicians could hear the differance between a world class studio and the decent studio in your town. OR rather, only 99% would think it makes a differance in the way they listen to music. The form of music you were describing, pop music, sucks anyways. Music created to make money, in my eyes, is doing no good for our world. SO fuck it.
I agrea with you list of differances though.

P.s. I got my cousins cd, it sounds as if it could be a lower budget major label. Not to be confused with a $500,000 release. He uses the pro tools system, which many studios use anyways.
124
[ Parent ]

Angels fuck and devils leech. (5.00 / 11) (#171)
by stormysky on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 02:59:59 AM EST

We should applaud the RIAA. Their splendid example of evolutionary reality should be a rallying point to my fellow atheists everywhere. (Spell checkers be damned!) Seriously, where else have you seen a more frantic, futile fight for survival, recently? And isn't it fun watching them sink into the tarpit? Pure darwinism in action.

Thing is, they are absolutely doomed to become extinct. Music has been around as long as humanity itself... since whatever monkey-like or alien-created dregs of our forefathers hummed to themselves as they nestled in their cozy caves. As others have pointed out, 'artists', the true ones, create for the love of creating; and, of course, to hear their own voices. (Hence, politicians are just musicians that don't play an instrument, in the conventional sense)

What will happen if the RIAA and friends succeed in shutting down every p2p network (... about as much of a chance of happening as Ms. Portman swallowing my wand of light) and forcing people back to the old model? They'll still become extinct. Christina's done been rubbed and long left the bottle. Even computer illiterate folk, 'law abiding conservatives', know how to download WinMX and grab a song. Sure, most p2p networks suck, but they work enough to keep the dog drooling at the bell. I personally know people that can't defrag their 300mhz clunkers running win95 that happily download the latest patriotic drek by <insert country singer>. These are the soccer moms, not the elite backroom ogres that one might expect, and, while I wouldn't listen to the sort of music they're trading, trading it they are, despite being painted as pirates. Perhaps some of the free love of the '60s still exist, but it's become more of a sonic love, than that of the flesh. (Yes, of course, one can make quite a bit of sonic cacophony with the flesh, but since I've no pictures handy, we'll move on).

I can only speak from my personal experiences when I say that the changes in distribution and acquisition, while different, are still going to be profitable for the artists. Here are a couple examples:

One of those 'unable to defrag' folk recently ripped his Glenn Yarborough collection from actual vinyl (things they had before those newfangled CDs) and played some for me. I was blownaway that the guy actually had recorded something more than "Frodo of the Nine Fingers" --- Nay, *albums* more. I'd pay to see the guy in concert (as well as support my local chemical distributors in the process, as it's the type of music that lends well to that sort of thing) and probably snatch up a CD of his if I saw it in the bargain bin. This is one of the most cited examples of why online sharing is good, and, frankly, it's *true*. As the fellow in the article said, he read about an artist, went online, and was able to check them out. The example I just banged on about is how things have been done since people could AFFORD the hardware to pay replications of their favourite tunes --- now, it's just usually online, and by someone IM'ing you to 'check out this cool dude! He sings about Tolkien!'.

Not all listens will make a fan of you: I recently read about Norah Jones in Guitar Player, so downloaded a couple of her tunes. Not my thing. Excellent voice, but, I just can't dig the format. So, I'll pass. And here's where the RIAA and friends really lose, because, had I not been able to just download the songs, I'd of probably bought the CD. Think this matters to Norah, though? She's still going to play her thing whether I buy her CDs or not, and people who are into her scene ARE going to either buy, or go to her shows. And, for me, there's more wins then loses for bands. Some of the ones I've discovered that I probably never would have otherwise include Blackmore's Night, Blind Guardian, Beto Vazquez, Jack Off Jill, Live on Release, Ian Van Dahl. (C'mon, the matrix effects were COOL in the Castles In The Sky vid) and literally about a hundred more. Do I buy the CDs? Of course! Though, more than half these bands are on labels that aren't even based in the US, much less members of the RIAA. Then, there's my purchase of the Buffy: Once More With Feeling cd. That's not even on a mainstream label, if I recall, but I don't care: I had all the songs on it off the wildfeed two days before it even aired, and I still bought the CD. (I also bought Anthony Stewart Head's "Music for Elevators", but I usually keep that to myself unless with people I can fart around.) That particular CD was worth it for Joss Whedon's intro, and just because I *wanted* it. But, you know where the real money is, for any artist?

The merchandise! The T-Shirts (I've got a Demon & Wizard's shirt next to my old Iron Maiden - Killers shirt. We support the bands we love), the concerts, the used condom from the depths of an unknown groupie, the signature guitars and Teach-Yourself-To-Be-A-Shredder-God-Like-Me videos! From the old days when the minstrels would play for food and twat to modern times when Ian Anderson would pipe for drugs and twat, it's always been about the performing. The money comes from the incidentals of it; and that's what's wrong, when you get down to it, about what the music business is trying to keep alive: They're trying to KEEP it as a business. And it can't work.

Linux is probably a great example of this: You've got 'robust' operating systems (no, not talking about anything out of Redmond... and let's not argue just how robust VMS didn't turn out to be) that cost heaps of money. This fellow from Finland comes along, speaks a soft swedish, and gets a bunch of strangers to help him make one of the best OSen out there. And gives it away. Then a bunch of other people came along, saying, "Well, ya know, I dig coding, and the ego-trip of people using something I've created. I think I'll hack out something and toss it out there, too." Now, we've got a better way of getting killer applications than driving to CompUSA to get the pretty box.

P2p is the linux of the music world. (It's a stretch, but listen). It's allowing all of us who just want to make music *get it out there*, and it's killing the lumbering beasts who can't shrink wrap their drek and hope that enough people buy it before word travels how terribly it sucks. In the old days, you'd have to buy the pretty box that said "Optimizes your system 100% in 3 seconds", but, once you installed it, found it simply changed your swap file. In the old days, you'd have to buy Natalie Imbruglia's whole CD, to find out that "Torn" was the only listenable song on it. Not now...

People ARE still paying, they're just paying, on the majority, for GOOD music. No matter how much the silicon enhanced lolitas are pushed, the real people are ignoring them (except perhaps as the occasional inspiration for a quick wank) and supporting unknown musicians they've found online. They're buying homebrewed cds, going to bars, and getting the shirt. Music isn't dead, and the profit from it isn't dead; wannabes like me still strum sparse arrangements in holes in the wall for friends and drunks, still write what we want to hear, and still get off on others getting off on our creations. In the long run, isn't that the most profitable thing of all? That, and the groupies?
We can face anything, except for bunnies.

I agree, but dump the linux part. (4.00 / 1) (#216)
by coryking on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 12:00:22 PM EST

Only here or on slashdot would you find people trying to make everything analogous to linux :-). Soccer moms most certainly don't use linux, they probably dont know it exists. Lets be honest, Linux will never, ever have the market penetration that most p2p apps do. It's a computer nerd thing, and will always be that way.

But hell my mom, a technophobe who gets freaked out by a new remote control, can download her music and burn it to CD. In fact, she likes it so much, she was willing to even use their damn computer!! She'll search for an artist on CDnow or something, and download all the songs on the album. I think this is a MAJOR accomplishment and not only shows how much potential internet based music has but just how screwed the current system is.

The only way I think people might make money off this whole internet music thing is by selling convenience. With current p2p systems, speed is always an issue, and you never know quite what it will sound like. Not only that, but you *do* screw the artist. If you pitched this service as "helping the artist" you'd feed into peoples nagging guilt. By paying $1 for a song, and $5 for an album, you can download music which is assured to be high quality (i.e. 160kbps) off a really fast server and make sure the artist gets paid.

The key is the price. You dont want it so expensive that people go find it on Kaaza or Gnutella or whatever they will call it in the future. You want it just high enough that you make money, but just low enough that people will use it without thinking about it (like electricity or water). I think if you hired a team of economists and set the price right, you'd get a lot of people who would be willing to pay for that convenience as speed & quality are a major shortcoming of modern p2p systems.

[ Parent ]

About moral criteria (5.00 / 2) (#172)
by pak on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 03:17:20 AM EST

One thing I'd like to point out: in typical ethics, that something is easy or hard to do (because of the technology in use) does not affect whether it is right or wrong, although it will obviously affect whether the majority of people will choose to do so.

My interpretation would be that most virtue-based and deontological theories of ethics would condemn piracy as amoral. (Perhaps even utilitarian ethics?) The fact that the amoral action is trivial to perform, or that the suffering party is seen as "evil" by most doesn't change this.

degree, scale (5.00 / 2) (#177)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 04:14:57 AM EST

but it's a tempest in a teapot.

you can call it amoral.

but it's amorality on a microscopic scale.

sure, you can say "wrong is wrong is wrong" but degree and scale do matter in the real world.

let's put it this way. in the interest of intellectual honesty, i won't take the morally nihilistic attitude that we are but ants in a morally neutral infinite cold uncaring universe.

so in intellectual honesty, admit to me that our morality is not omnipotent and infinite and controls all in the world. the truth of course, lies somewhere in between. stealing music mp3s is morality of such tiny consequence that it fails to persuade.

look at it this way. morality changes and evolves over time. in a hypothetical future world where music file trading might be completely free and normal, the morality of the act would be neutral, right? but how do you get from the world we find ourselves in right now, where the morality is in question, to such a future place, where the morality is secure? morals change and evolve in society over time.

the change can happen at such a gradual, curved rate that the "amorality" of stealing music becomes less and less over time until it approaches zero. morality is not an absolute thing. it is relative to what others perceive as right and wrong. it is very much a human creation. it does not flow from the natural laws of physics.

additionally, for those hung up on the morality here, i would like to say watch out for the line you might cross when defending theoretical morality, over to to the realm of defending the greed of large corporations. there are larger forces at work in the moral world than the rights of corporations. the rights of the individual often comes in conflict with large corporations, and individuals often lose. and it is easy for the dominant power, the corporation, to shape the argument and go on the ethical offensive since they have so many resources available. they can frame the debate as one of simplistic moral questions when more complex moral questions of individual rights are stepped on all over in the shadows. propaganda has such a power to spin the moral debate.

the corporations can frame the tempest in a teapot moral question of stealing mp3s as front in center when in the background a lot larger moral argument is being lost about individual rights. don't be their shill. there are lot larger moral arguments to be made in the world. use your intellectual resources widely and worry about real evil in the world. stealing mp3s is hardly the mountain of moral conflict you should concern yourselves with, more like the molehill.

C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

Re: degree, scale (none / 0) (#204)
by pak on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 10:45:01 AM EST

but it's amorality on a microscopic scale.

sure, you can say "wrong is wrong is wrong" but degree and scale do matter in the real world.


It seems we have different ideas of morality. With my concepts of ethics, it doesn't make sense to say "it's not wrong to do something wrong if it's just a little bit wrong".

Perhaps you're trying to say that you have an ethical principle that doesn't prohibit doing something harmful if the damage it causes is small?


let's put it this way. in the interest of intellectual honesty, i won't take the morally nihilistic attitude that we are but ants in a morally neutral infinite cold uncaring universe.

so in intellectual honesty, admit to me that our morality is not omnipotent and infinite and controls all in the world. the truth of course, lies somewhere in between. stealing music mp3s is morality of such tiny consequence that it fails to persuade.


I think it's given for any modern thinker that ethics aren't connected with the natural world as such. You aren't moral because it's a law of nature, there are other reasons.

I fail to see what you could mean by morality being "omnipotent and infinite". You also seem to be inconsistent: if the world is "morally neutral", why do you care if big actions are right or moral, if "tiny consequences" are of no significance?


look at it this way. morality changes and evolves over time. in a hypothetical future world where music file trading might be completely free and normal, the morality of the act would be neutral, right? but how do you get from the world we find ourselves in right now, where the morality is in question, to such a future place, where the morality is secure? morals change and evolve in society over time.

That something might be commonplace in the future is a dubious argument for doing it now. You probably don't accept everything that is commonplace today either?


the corporations can frame the tempest in a teapot moral question of stealing mp3s as front in center when in the background a lot larger moral argument is being lost about individual rights. don't be their shill. there are lot larger moral arguments to be made in the world. use your intellectual resources widely and worry about real evil in the world. stealing mp3s is hardly the mountain of moral conflict you should concern yourselves with, more like the molehill.

I'm not sure if I understand you here.. After writing a long article about the morality of piracy you write that "there are larger moral arguments" and that you shouldn't bother to think about piracy being evil or not?

Is it really your position that there are "larger moral arguments" (which sounds like a moral argument itself), such as individual rights, and you just don't about choices concerning "lesser" moral arguments, such as the rights of animals?

[ Parent ]
moral morass (4.00 / 1) (#212)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 11:51:53 AM EST

my brain is hurting. all this tautology.

look, clear and simple: morals evolve over time. and it is not a placid process, there is violence in it. somebody seems to get away with more than they deserve, and someone loses. but society stays cohesive and no one is terrible disturbed if the rate of moral change is slow enough to not chafe against human conscience.

it hardly chafes my conscience to peel off small bits of a multinational corporation's value by copying mp3s. additionally, the process is not analogous to teenagers going out and ripping off grandma of her social security check. they are ripping off multinational corporations. the damage is not personal. this does matter in the moral equation.

individually, my theft-like actions are imperceptible. with a lot of people doing it constantly, it adds up. but the mechanism of the action, individuals acting without coordination or real malice, shows that the process is unstoppable, from a legal, moral, or technical point of view.

your pov seems to indicate that morals are static. they most definitely are not. you can not distill morality into a comprehensive compendium. morality is a living thing. it breathes, it evolves, it is fractal.

was it moral for the ameircan colonies to break from great britain? at the time, it was evil and immoral from great britain's point of view. just think about all of the coopting of british property that went on in the colonies during the war. and what of the colonization of north america? think about what the native americans had coopted from them. and of whom it is nobly said that their morality did not have a concept of ownership of land. so there's a whackadoodle of a moral conundrum. see how things in morality change and evolve over time?

so teenagers are ripping off large media conglomerates. yawn. in 100 years arguing about the morality of this ongoing and accelerating erosion of a dying economic model for music distribution will appear to be exactly what it is: a tempest in a teapot.
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

Re: moral morass (none / 0) (#222)
by pak on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 12:57:01 PM EST

my brain is hurting. all this tautology.

Oh, obviously you agree with me since you call my criticism of your writing a tautology?


your pov seems to indicate that morals are static. they most definitely are not. you can not distill morality into a comprehensive compendium. morality is a living thing. it breathes, it evolves, it is fractal.

This depends entirely on what you mean by morals, higher level moral principles (such as utilitarism, Kant's formalism, etc..) don't "evolve", but habits do. Please note that I am not trying to deny what you say about the dynamics of human conduct or effects of technology or piracy, but trying to question the legitimacy of using these observations as a basis on your moral decisions.

[ Parent ]
ummm (none / 0) (#225)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 01:18:45 PM EST

Please note that I am not trying to deny what you say about the dynamics of human conduct or effects of technology or piracy, but trying to question the legitimacy of using these observations as a basis on your moral decisions.

honestly? i sleep just fine. see, the morality at issue here is small potatoes. and also, we, both of us, are quite pathetic talking about the morality of file swapping when the world is about to go to war over iraq. i'll say it again: tempest in a teapot.
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

Huh? (5.00 / 1) (#229)
by pak on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 01:38:31 PM EST

How insightful. What decisions do you expect to be making in your life that wouldn't be pathetically small compared to the war over Iraq?

Also, following this logic, you shouldn't mind if I, for example, killed your wife. After all, that is a miniscule thing compared to all the atrocities in the world! But then again, how pathetic is it to talk about the events in Iraq, when our whole planet will be wiped out in a couple of billion years?

Conclusion: perhaps your arbitrary perception of "importance", which seems like a moral idea in itself, isn't a sufficient basis for moral decisions?

[ Parent ]
sigh (none / 0) (#235)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 02:40:40 PM EST

i unilaterally (lol, no pun intended) say to you: stealing mp3s from large companies is a miniscule moral impasse. you do not sway me. there really are larger moral issues out there, including killing my wife, lol, or the heat death of the universe, lol (huh!?). you hardly advance your position by using these examples!

you can tell me until you are blue in the face that my waiving of the moral issues involved with stealing mp3s is a grave matter. it isn't. you don't convince me.

Conclusion: perhaps your arbitrary perception of "importance", which seems like a moral idea in itself, isn't a sufficient basis for moral decisions?

arbitrary? hardly. importance not a sufficient basis? hardly. if i were you, i would worry less about theoretical morality and more about whether or not your pov would get by a 6 year old's bullshit meter. ;-P
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

sigh, indeed :-) (none / 0) (#237)
by pak on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 03:34:10 PM EST

you can tell me until you are blue in the face that my waiving of the moral issues involved with stealing mp3s is a grave matter. it isn't. you don't convince me.

Please interpret even this basic thing correctly: Not once have I tried to say that "stealing mp3s" is morally grave, or not grave. I intend not to have a position in this matter.

[ Parent ]
Probably not in utilitarian... (5.00 / 1) (#185)
by Kuranes on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 05:52:09 AM EST

...because it will make consumers happy, and there are far more people which are music consumers than people working in the Music Industry and artists who have their deals with them.

Highest level of happiness for the highest number of people. Got it?

Visit Graz, the Cultural Capital of Europe 2003.


Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
It's difficult to say.. (none / 0) (#199)
by pak on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 09:04:46 AM EST

Indeed the argument that there are more music consumers sounds quite reasonable to me. The reason that I mentioned utilitarism in the previous post was that I don't expect the long-range effects of the technology in question to be as straightforward or clear.

[ Parent ]
About morality and the big picture. (none / 0) (#284)
by Stoutlimb on Fri Jan 31, 2003 at 06:17:58 PM EST

Take a step back, and look at the big picture.

Before this, music and other information was very strongly bound to the medium it was recorded or written on.  Copying it to another medium degratded it.  And was expensive, especially en-masse.  There was a real scarcity, not of information, but of hard copies.  Printing presses, and mass marketed music alleviated this, but didn't eliminate it.

Now we have generic information processing machines, and a global network, that lets anyone copy almost anything for a small flat fee of connection to the network, and the price of their hardware.  That means one form of scarcity has been virtually eliminated.  There is now no real economic reason to charge for music, because it practically distributes itself.  Artists will keep on making music, whether or not people will keep making huge sums of money from distribution or not.

So...  On the demand side, the price has dropped to zero.  On the supply side, the price has also dropped to zero.  Artists will keep making and distributing music no matter what, and it's never been cheaper or easier in history to make and record your own music at home.  The only thing different is BUSINESSPEOPLE will stop producing and distributing music.  Frankly, I won't miss Hillary Rosen and her bunch.

So the only thing holding the system up, is antiquated laws, and some greedy people holding on for all they're worth.  But reality has already changed.

Imagine a world where everyone takes whatever they want, and nobody goes without.  That's Utopia.  With the futuristic technology we already posess, we can do this now, at least in a small part of our lives regarding music.

The fact that we don't do this when it's obviously the greatest good for the greatest amount of people, I find much more immoral than downoading "Enter Sandman" from Metallica.

That's my 2 shakes, and why I think at least Music should be free.

Bork!

[ Parent ]

"Remember the world before ATMs?" (5.00 / 4) (#181)
by ti dave on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 05:23:10 AM EST

Good God, Man!

Am I that fucking old?


Watch for Ice!

"That old" (none / 0) (#299)
by barkway on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 07:03:13 PM EST

Apparently, we are! Pass me a Geritol micky and an extra Depends if ya have one!

[ Parent ]
Not the point (2.00 / 1) (#201)
by jayhawk88 on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 09:52:48 AM EST

Where is it written in the Bible or the Constitution that someone, somewhere, has to make money off music? Where is it written? Why should I care if some big stupid music company goes belly up?

Nowhere, and you shouldn't. However, you're totally missing the point here. You can bullshit about "music wants to be free" all you like, but the fact remains that Metallica (and whomever their label is) are offering their music to you for a price. Whether paying for music is morally wrong or whatever is besides the point. They want you to pay for their music, and you are not. Hence, you are stealing their music.

If you decide that's OK to you, then fine, that's a moral choice. But don't write tripe like this and expect BMG to just up and disband out of the goodness of their heart.

Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web? -- John Ashcroft
i don't expect them to at all (none / 0) (#202)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 10:02:13 AM EST

But don't write tripe like this and expect BMG to just up and disband out of the goodness of their heart.

i don't expect them to at all.

i expect them to fight and flail and whine and cry like any good dinosaur drowning in a tar pit.

but drown in a tar pit and go extinct is exactly what they are going to do.

and metallica is going to have their music ripped off continually no matter how morally indignant you get, until your indignation means nothing, and you recognize that morality evolves too. or are you a dinosaur as well?

change. evolve. or become a bitter old brittle man with inflexible views before your time.

file trading music is stealing only as far as the big media companies can throw that stick. watch the meaning evolve. there is a future, and it is close, where p2p will not be considered stealing at all.
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

...or not. (none / 0) (#231)
by pr0t0plasm on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 01:41:59 PM EST

Either that, or the record cartel will spend all the extra money ('monopoly rents') it made colluding to inflate CD prices on intimidating ISPs, hardware manufacturers, and individual users into submission. Also on infiltrating the p2p nets and making it unworth the user's while to download, through bogus files and R&D on new tricks when that one peters out (see above post about how hard it already is to sort tunes from crap). I sincerely hope that you're right, that the return of the pre-recording business model of 'artist income' = 'touring' is upon us on a mass scale. But as marxists the world over have demonstrated time and again, there's no such thing as historical inevitability. The battle is joined, but it ain't over yet.


- - - - - Patent applied for and deliver us from evil.
[ Parent ]

you have good points (none / 0) (#260)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 10:52:34 AM EST

but there is a technological fix to the isp bullying and bad file overloading you mention

and time and time again, if nothing, it has been proven that every legal or technological measure the riaa throws at file trading, there is a technological reply from the file traders. it is arms race they cannot win

as for your point on marxism, i won't counter it, you are correct, but what the heck does file trading have to do with marxism? maybe in an overarching screw the capitalist pigs kind of way, but i see p2p file trading as a function of the evolution and  growth and acceptance of the internet, all changes wrought by it driven by pure convenience and utilitarianism. i don't see any ideology in it. it certainly smells like screw the capitalist pigs, but it really has nothing to do with communism or marxism at all. it's closest ideology might be '60s era "free love," but that is about all it is related too ideology wise. i can see why in some minds there can be perceived a relation, but the relationship is false.
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

Point taken, but... Also, about that marxism... (none / 0) (#263)
by pr0t0plasm on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 02:10:57 PM EST

Poor phrasing on my part. The point of that barb was aimed at the 'historical inevitability' half of the sentence, the marxist assumption (mistaken for an economic conclusion for them, a technological one for you) that they couldn't lose.

Until hackers can fab their own chips from raw materials, there is no guarantee that the capitalist pigs won't be able to enforce DRM down to the component level in hardware, or devise some yet unthought means of self-preservation. As DSPs get cheaper, the need for BOBE encryption schemes like CSS to keep cost down will evaporate; short of getting access to one hell of a beowulf cluster with nothing better to do than crack the individual keys of every CD I own, there won't be much I can do about it. Though right now I can physically rewire my speakers to exploit the famed 'analog hole', that's beyond the (self-perceived) capability of much of the populace, and it will get more difficult as computation-intensive DRM schemes propagate.

The tricky thing with your 'hackers always win' notion is that not everyone is a hacker, and as soon as you have to start hacking hardware, you cut off most folks from the solution. If that weren't true, everybody would be running kazaa on their xbox, and that only requires one mod chip. The publishers don't have to make it impossible to break any given content-protection scheme, they just have to make it require enough non-distributable work to dissuade most people from doing the breaking.

That was what I was trying to say with the marxist line. I didn't mean to assert that any file traders might have anything to do with Marx.


- - - - - Patent applied for and deliver us from evil.
[ Parent ]

again, you are right (none / 0) (#266)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 03:50:25 PM EST

again, you are right

you really are

it is entirely possible that entrenched corporate interests can malign the internet to suit there own needs. they have far more resources, capital and manpower wise, than those who would keep the internet entirely free. they also have a lot more motivation- protecting the bottom line, to do so. the "free love" crowd has a philosophical imperative. far less motivating than pure greed. free love doesn't put food on the table, or the gilded golden table, as the case may be. lol ;-P

fortunately, they were not perceptive enough to do so before enough of the freedom-oriented aspects of the net have became highly entrenched. the network effect. if there were only 10 phones in existence, the corporate interests could recall all 10 phones, make their changes, and rerelease them to enforce their control before the net grew any further. now there are 1 billion telephones, and wires, out there. a recall is impossible.

enough of the groundwork of the net is so fixed that changing aspects of some of it that are really necessary to bring serious corporate-interest driven changes to the net are really hard to do. just look how hard it is for the world to switch to ipv6. and that's a good thing everyone agrees on. questionable and objectionable and contentious and debateable corporate-driven changes to the net would be much harder to get pushed through.

so what would you have? 2 different competing versions of the internet? the corporate version and the free outlaw version that their propanga organs would quickly ostracize as the realm of virus spreading evil hackers and pimply asocial hobby-oriented geeks? it would be like ham radio versus commercial radio. but first, they would have to prove that the corporate-controlled version of the net really does offer more "value" on whatever measure you take, that enough people would forget their philosophical qualms to make the switch.

but i don't see how they can offer better value in a controlled environment. the free aspects of the net is such a strong selling point, removing the freedom removes a large part of the inherent value of the internet. just look how hard microsoft is pushing to get it's fingers on the net in terms of protocols for their .net and palladium driven initiatives. the anti-privacy aspects of it has given enough people pause that they are running into molasses before their initiative has even gained the tiniest bit of momentum.

the eu for one won't put up with the privacy problems. the american government can't wean itself of the corporate money trough, so i can see the "details" of such a change slipping onto the back page in the us. but elsewhere in the world, they won't put up with that. and as long as the net is free there, places where it is not free, like china, iran, saudi arabia, and possibly the us via corporate interests in the future, can still jack in to the free part of the net via p2p methods. china is on a constant pile of slippery mud trying to retain control of their net short of snipping the optical cables at their borders. and that would destroy the utility of the net utterly for them. it is a small world. you cannot let the internet die at your borders without stunting your own growth. this is true for any country.

the inherent value of the internet is its network effect, the freedom to go anywhere. if you make a smaller subset of the internet available to someone via governmental or corporate driven censorship and protocol controlling methods, you automatically reduce the value for that second, smaller internet. i don't care how you package the switch, it's lessened value is immediately apparent. and so i don't see how their will to power impulse driven initiatives can ever defeat the inherent freedom of the internet. because no one wants to lose a good thing for a lesser valuable thing, unless they are forced to do so at gunpoint, which is a whole other scenario. lol ;-P

the point is, a lot of the corporate initiatives that would result in a corporate controlled internet that have the greater "value" they need to encourage adoption of it REQUIRES global ids that step all over privacy. it's a threshold across which they may never pass. and so the internet should remain relatively free... for the short term, like the next 5 years, until they figure something out no one has thought of yet, driven by forces none of us have foreseen.

as a side note, the golden "analog hole" you take potshots at remains untouchable. any audio file, i don't care how well you secure it, has to be turned into an audio signal at some point to be understandable to the human ear. at which point, the signal can be copied. this will never be preventable or difficult to do for any vaguely committed technically clueless wannabe music pirate. you are talking about the skillset and the resource level of your average 13 year old. the same 13 year old who has the deepest desire for pop music, and the least amount of money. put 1 and 1 together and you get the downfall of the riaa right there.

C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

analog hole hack (5.00 / 1) (#272)
by chu on Fri Jan 31, 2003 at 06:39:46 AM EST

I guess you could implant d/a chips in people's eardrums and transmit the data through wireless - the advertising industry would be sure to back it!

[ Parent ]
Is that so? (none / 0) (#230)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 01:38:34 PM EST

Well, I want you to pay me every time you breathe air. Since I've never recieved payment, even after numerous invoices and collection notices have been sent, you are obviously stealing my air. [END SARCASM]

I don't care if Lars thinks he deserves my money or not. He doesn't, and not only am I not stealing anything, he is committing slander of a sort, for even suggesting that myself and others are doing so.

Whatever right they had to collect money for music they create, was morally forfeited when the RIAA and other "organizations" lobbied for the Mickey Mouse Protection Act.



--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

What part of (4.00 / 1) (#238)
by jayhawk88 on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 03:40:17 PM EST

"big time industry music is not a God-given right" did you not understand?

You either want it and are willing to pay for it at the price the producers choose, or you aren't.

Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web? -- John Ashcroft
[ Parent ]
Umm... (none / 0) (#280)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Fri Jan 31, 2003 at 09:41:15 AM EST

Those are two of many of the choices that I have.

You certainly haven't convinced me to ignore any of my other options.

I have the moral right to arrange the bits on my hard drive however I like. There are a few exceptions, but none of them are due to Hillary's fetish for rolling around naked in piles of cash.

If my moral right to do so, destroys the "music industry", all the better. Clear Channel, TicketMaster, N'Sync... these are all things that the world would be better off without.

If my moral right to do so, is made illegal with bought laws, in a political system that I can't hope to win in, then I will make the problem a technical one that they can't hope to solve.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

It IS in the Constitution! (none / 0) (#298)
by barkway on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 07:01:15 PM EST

Article I, section 8, clause 8

[ Parent ]
A Strong Agreement (5.00 / 1) (#205)
by Jamie Re on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 10:48:56 AM EST

YES

I can deal with the moral conundrum and this is why I download a song or an album and if I really like it I will go out and buy the cd. The cd is more than just the music, lyrics, art, videos. But I am not going to pay 20 bucks for a cd of which I have only heard the radio song . NFW . Also what a great medium for new artists. No record deal needed. No exorbitant mastering costs and printing fees. Just the music.

-j

You underestimate your opponent (none / 0) (#208)
by Burning Straw Man on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 11:14:43 AM EST

Media giants like ClearChannel, etc, play ad spots about not stealing music, with the theme of "respect the music". Although any "evidence" from my POV is anecdotal, it seems to be having an effect. People are erasing their MP3 libraries (keeping the tracks they've ripped from their own CDs). As for myself, I deleted my "infringed" files and just keep around the few gigs of OGG of the CDs I ripped for myself, but not because I "respect the music". Mostly because if they don't want me listening to their crap, I'm happy to oblige.
--
your straw man is on fire...
fud (2.00 / 1) (#209)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 11:32:55 AM EST

the day the riaa lawyers come after 13 year olds with a few dozen mp3s on their parents computer is the day hell freezes over.

i am certain they will go after the big uploaders: the guys with 60 gigs of prime pop mp3s connected via t1 and left on all day every day.

but what about all the eurokids happily munching away on kazaa? how do they go after them? what about the technologically inclined who are already obfuscating their ip addresses?

what about the vast majority of leechers who are here one minute, gone the next, having no more than 100 mp3s in their collection? the average kazaa user who only exists to download from the untouchable phantoms are immune by virtue of their sheer numbers. and the phantoms are untouchable by the riaa legally (europe) or technologically (ip obfuscators).

the riaa going after p2p users will happen. but the impact they make will be technically neglible, and symbolically powerful...

only for people who swallow their fud like you.

but for me, i am not impressed me one bit.

i underestimate my opponent? my ass. they are dinosaurs grasping at straws.

 
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

fud? where's the fear? troll alert? (none / 0) (#214)
by Burning Straw Man on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 11:57:31 AM EST

I didn't for one moment suggest any penalties or try to generate any fear. What comment did you mean to respond to?

only for people who swallow their fud like you.

I didn't remove my files because I was afraid of getting "caught" or "punished", nor has anyone else I've talked to. They removed them because the "respect the music" campaign is having an effect on the perceived morality of infringing music copyrights. And like I said in my original post, I removed my files for the sole reason that if they don't want me to listen to them, fine, I won't. I didn't mention any fear, uncertainty, or doubt.
--
your straw man is on fire...
[ Parent ]

lol (none / 0) (#218)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 12:29:00 PM EST

And like I said in my original post, I removed my files for the sole reason that if they don't want me to listen to them, fine, I won't.

if i have a bunch of mp3s, and the riaa says take them off or we might sue you, i'll think about taking them off.

this is 99.99999999% of the mentality of the people around you.

if you got rid of your mp3s simply because the riaa said so, with no perceived threat, you sir are the most incredibly decent and upstanding citizen i have ever met! what an understanding sort! lol ;-P

do you obey all directives from multinational corporations and their legal organs with such utmost efficiency and affinity?

what would you say to me if i said this to you:

"And like I said in my original post, I agree we should attack Iraq for the sole reason that if GW Bush says we should attack them then fine, we should."

i guess i'm just not as decent and upstanding as you ;-P

C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

wait, wait! (none / 0) (#219)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 12:33:23 PM EST

I didn't remove my files because I was afraid of getting "caught" or "punished", nor has anyone else I've talked to. They removed them because the "respect the music" campaign is having an effect on the perceived morality of infringing music copyrights. And like I said in my original post, I removed my files for the sole reason that if they don't want me to listen to them, fine, I won't. I didn't mention any fear, uncertainty, or doubt.

click

I didn't smoke the joint because I was afraid of getting "caught" or "punished", nor has anyone else I've talked to. I didn't smoke marijuana because the "drugs support terrorists" campaign is having an effect on the perceived morality of illicit drug use. And like I said in my original post, I stopped smoking marijuana for the sole reason that if the government doesn't want me to smoke it, fine, I won't. I didn't mention any fear, uncertainty, or doubt.
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

actually pretty good response, although... (none / 0) (#248)
by Burning Straw Man on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 12:38:38 AM EST

I didn't smoke the joint because I was afraid of getting "caught" or "punished", nor has anyone else I've talked to. I didn't smoke marijuana because the "drugs support terrorists" campaign is having an effect on the perceived morality of illicit drug use. And like I said in my original post, I stopped smoking marijuana for the sole reason that if the government doesn't want me to smoke it, fine, I won't. I didn't mention any fear, uncertainty, or doubt.

Lucky for me I don't buy my marijuana from the government. Another analogy is, if the government was selling marijuana, and didn't want me to smoke theirs (which they imply by charging 10 times as much as they should), then I would buy my weed from someone else, grow my own, etc. Just like now, I download MP3's from bands which are fine with that.

Although trying to relate copying a digital file to the actual transfer of physical property (marijuana) is a stretch at best.
--
your straw man is on fire...
[ Parent ]

agreed (none / 0) (#259)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 10:43:39 AM EST

you are correct:

Although trying to relate copying a digital file to the actual transfer of physical property (marijuana) is a stretch at best.

but that is the larger point, of my story above, if not your reply to my comment right here: that stealing an mp3 file is NOTHING like stealing a real object, like a car.
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

has happened already (none / 0) (#271)
by chu on Fri Jan 31, 2003 at 06:28:36 AM EST

http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/28325.html

[ Parent ]
eminem said it best...oddly... (none / 0) (#232)
by interim32 on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 02:05:33 PM EST

One of the thirteen times I've watched MTV in my life, I saw Eminem buying a copy of his own CD at a record store. The cashier said, "Umm, why are you buying your own CD?" And he replied, nasally as usual, "I downloaded it off the internet, but it didn't sound as good." I can't say I've ever seen any evidence (at least at the University of Texas, a school 50,000 strong) that people are en masse deleting their mp3 collections because it's the "right thing to do." True music lovers are still buying albums, however, because it's a genuinely better product--case, cover, disc, notes, and quality. It's only a matter of time, though, before music can be traded without degradation of quality...then the music companies better get ready to scramble.

[ Parent ]
Interesting... (4.50 / 2) (#227)
by dh003i on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 01:26:16 PM EST

But a little bit too optimistic.  Haven't you read Lawrence Lessig?  The internet does not necessarily mean that information is uncontrollable.  Sure, the way the internet's architecture is designed now, information is basically uncontrollable.  But old forces like the RIAA, MPAA, BSA, etc that find it in their interest, can take steps towards changing the architecture of the internet to one of control.

They are already starting to do this.  The biggest and worst example is ICANN.  If you don't like it, you have to ignore ICANN and use DNS service that does things the right way (i.e., OpenNIC).  The best thing is if there's another DNS service which conflicts with ICANN -- one which doesn't hand over "apple-fan.org" to Apple corp.  To resolve the conflict between ICANN's DNS and conflicting DNS', you need to change the code of HTML, such that when I type in an href, it translates that URL to an IP address/subdirectory depending on what DNS my computer is using; then, on your computer, it would translate that IP address/subdirectory to a the appropriate URL for your DNS.  This way, I could use a DNS conflicting with ICANN, and you could use ICANN, but we could still communicate effectively.

There are other example.  The point is, we have to fight against architectures of control.

I agree with you -- the music labels are outdated and unneeded, just like monastic scribes.  They are useless now, and like all useless things, should be eliminated.  Metaphorically speaking, music labels are "selfish DNA" to society.  Music artists are a different story.

There's no reason why artists need labels.  With modern technology, they can advertise themselves well at minimal cost.  I'll admit it, I like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Shakira, and Pink.  They'd all be fine if their music labels went under.  Why?  Because people who like them know who they are, and don't give a flying  fuck about music labels.  They would have hit it big eventually without labels in the first place -- except then, maybe, there would be less fluff in their albums.

Social Security is a pyramid scam.

doh (none / 0) (#270)
by chu on Fri Jan 31, 2003 at 06:24:21 AM EST


Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Shakira, and Pink.  They'd all be fine if their music labels went under.  Why?  Because people who like them know who they are

Q: How do people know who they are? A: Their labels!

[ Parent ]

Publishers aren't dead yet (5.00 / 1) (#228)
by pr0t0plasm on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 01:27:18 PM EST

The trouble with the internet as a distribution medium, as I see it, is parsing the gold from the dust. Traditionally (i.e. before clear channel bought radio and the big 5 colluded to choke CD manufacture) music publishers had the useful role of sorting the good bands from the bad bands, and cultivating the good ones. Independent radio DJs then provided an altogether different service, alerting the listeners en masse to bands they hadn't heard of before (and sometimes that the labels hadn't heard of). The listener thus did not need to waste nearly as much time as I do sorting through my download folder in order to find new, decent tunes.

That said, the substantial influence that publishers have over content can be and is abused, especially due to the incentive for publishers to steer the content market toward material it can cheaply, easily publish. Crap is easy to find, so if you can popularize crap, you don't have to invest in cultivating relationships with producers, you can just find some hack to fill out the formula and pass the savings on to the customer.

The trouble with that approach is that rather than charge extra for the good stuff to offset the extra cost of development and promotion, many publishers offer uniform pricing and choose not to distribute material requiring a harder sell. Consolidation among music publishers means that the threshold potential market size before a band can get a major record contract has grown vastly larger than it once was; simulntaneously, it's guaranteed that without the backing (eithwe as publisher or distributor) of a major label, a CD will not reach Best Buy in Attleboro, MA.

This is where the internet is an unquestionable boon: it allows distribution of music to the marketplace that otherwise would not be distributed, as the many, many fringe bands that post mp3s to the web know and love. But the traditional role of radio is still going unfilled. Perhaps Sirius and XM can fill that niche, but they haven't yet. Perhaps a relatively few shoutcasters will garner reputation sufficient for the job, but none has yet. Perhaps people will come to accept that they have to invest greater effort in seeking out new music, but I doubt it.

So in the mean time, machine music production rules the day. And until the masses (folks that don't have the time or energy to pour over obscure websites and IRC channels looking) can both find out about new bands and download their songs, it will continue to do so.


- - - - - Patent applied for and deliver us from evil.

One word. (4.00 / 1) (#249)
by NFW on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 12:55:50 AM EST

Shoutcast.

(maybe that's two words?)


--
Got birds?


[ Parent ]

I think it's one word... (none / 0) (#264)
by pr0t0plasm on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 02:21:36 PM EST

..but it's a lot of people, and a lot of them have really poor taste. To fill out the role of radio, shoutcasters have to get a might more reliable as musical mediators than they are at the moment. Which may well happen, and I hope does. It's just that it ain't happened yet, so it seems premature to me to proclaim publishing dead.


- - - - - Patent applied for and deliver us from evil.
[ Parent ]

word of mouth (3.00 / 1) (#287)
by kaibutsu on Sat Feb 01, 2003 at 01:05:08 PM EST

I saw Scott McCloud, the comics guru, speak recently. One of the things he talked about was how, when the internet was young, there was a massive fear of the "mountain of crap" scenario, where there's so much information that you never find the good sites. But instead, we've seen the awesome power of word of mouth. Justine Shaw's Nowheregirl was a solo effort, and the author told only two close friends about it. But those two friends told their friends, and within something like a month, over 10,000 people had read the first installment of the comic. This lone example is enough to make me permanently doubt the Mountain of Crap scenario...

Additionally, we already have new ways of getting the word out cropping up, ways to replace that role of the music companies. There's a new life coming to CD Swapping, and boards such as Metafilter often talk about good, overlooked music. The new distribution channels are already taking shape...


-kaibutsu
[ Parent ]
You're right of course (none / 0) (#241)
by omghax on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 06:45:33 PM EST

But hasn't this topic been relentlessly BEATEN INTO THE GROUND already?

look at the story 2 above mine (4.00 / 1) (#242)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 07:02:28 PM EST

look at the story 2 above mine

hey, it's a democracy here at kuro5hin, it gets voted in

the subject strikes a real chord
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

long story short (4.00 / 2) (#265)
by Phantros on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 03:12:56 PM EST

Let's make a long story short: In the future, digital music will be used as marketting for live performances which can't be packaged and distributed. A recording is not the same as the actual concert experience. It's a bit like companies that give away their software for free and make money from support. Give away what you can't prevent them from getting, sell the rest.

4Literature - 2,000 books online and Scoop to discuss them with

easy peasy! (4.00 / 1) (#267)
by chopsandmash on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 06:02:11 PM EST

Do as I do, when I started losing sleep at night from hurting the one's I love most (music wise, by downloading their music for "free"), now I only download music by artists that I can't stand. Now I sleep easy! (what price sleep?)

Music copiers are not Pirates!!! (4.00 / 2) (#268)
by D Jade on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 07:00:27 PM EST

I collect vinyl (electronic stuff) which costs a lot more than a CD.

The going price for a record in Australia is around $22AU for which I get a double sided record with a single track on each side!!! I get about 15 Minutes of music per record.

The big sales point at the moment in electronic music is in their compilation CDs. A lot of these are double CDs, and you get about 2 and a half hours of music.

What gets me about this is that I am labelled a "music pirate" because I refuse to pay close to 50 bucks for a CD which contains a number of tunes on it that I already own on vinyl...

I own almost every tune on a particular compilation and they cost me at least $400!!!

So, why should I pay an additional $40-$50 for a CD containing music which I have spent so much money on already???

Personally, if I really like a compilation, I will pay the full price for it... But, I won't stand to be told that I am guilty of "piracy" because I have copied a CD containing music which I have already paid for at a higher cost than your average music buyer!!!

I believe that musicians should be supported by the society that listens to their music... But I believe that the cost should be closer to the production cost and more proportionate to the target audience!!!

People in this day and age who are broke and hungry can't afford a $30AU CD. But we all need music, don't we?



You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
US Const art I, sec 8, cl 8 (1.00 / 1) (#296)
by barkway on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 06:44:59 PM EST

The key here is in understanding "any tangible medium of expression." I can see a Copyright & Intellectual Property Primer is sorely needed on this site.

If you already owned the painting of the Mona Lisa, do you think someone should just GIVE you a print of it because you already own the original? Or what if you lost your Magic the Gathering Black Lotus alpha edition card....should Wizards of the Coast supply you with a new one free of charge simply because you once owned it already?

[ Parent ]

I bought some CDs recently (3.33 / 3) (#269)
by opendna on Fri Jan 31, 2003 at 01:00:41 AM EST

I bought a few CDs recently. Actually, I bought three. When the cashier rang totalled it all up he said "$87.54" and I thought "OUCH!" I paused. I had this impulse to walk out of the store. I looked up at him from my wallet and said the only thing on my mind:

"Now I remember why I stopped buying music."

Somewhere back in my mind there is an calculation for how much entertainment I'll get from something and how long I'll have to work to pay for it. I think the ratio should be about 1.5, but it's adjusted for quality. I don't mind working three hours for one good hour of entertainment, but I feel ripped off when I work for a two hours and only get 6 minutes.

It wasn't Napster that got me to stop buying CDs. It was the realization that I could go out and party Friday night, or I could buy a piss-poor CD. I hear more good music for a cover-charge than I can buy with 10 times as much.



I want free everything! (1.75 / 4) (#285)
by Lenny on Fri Jan 31, 2003 at 06:52:15 PM EST

I want cars to be free too!
Lets abolish car theft laws!

I want internet access to be free!
Lets force ISPs to provide free service to the world!

I want free homes!
Lets force the homebuilders of the world to make free homes for the world!

I want everything free!
Can't the world realize that and change its ways so that I can have everything I want?!


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
Interesting analogies... (none / 0) (#286)
by flieghund on Sat Feb 01, 2003 at 01:40:51 AM EST

I want cars to be free too!
Lets abolish car theft laws!

Possibly the one analogy nearest the music copyright infringement debate, but not really the same: when some one makes a digital copy of the song, they are not stealing the original song. The original song continues to exist, and for all intents and purposes is not affected by the illicit copy. (Now you may argue financial damage, but that isn't the same as stealing. Stealing necessarily implies that I have taken something from you and you no longer have it; if you never had it to begin with, how could it have been stolen from you?)

What might be a more appropriate -- though somewhat fantastic -- analogy would be a "magic" 3-D replicator that somehow allowed me to make a just-about perfect copy of a car. If I were to go around making dozens of copies of every car I came across, the original manufacturers would probably get upset. But there is no magic 3-D replicator (when did this become an IBM ad?).

I want internet access to be free!
Lets force ISPs to provide free service to the world!

Not the same issue at all, really. No one is forcing musicians to create music. (Well, there are rumors that a certain (ex-)executive in the music industry is Satan, so maybe he forces some to do it...) This is not a good analogy at all, in fact, because the entire point of ISPs is that they have the equipment necessary to connect individual users with the broader Internet; people use actual equipment and services when they use an ISP. That costs the ISP money, which they have to recoup at some point, the most fair and direct method being charging users who use their equipment. When some one makes a digital copy of a song, they are not utilizing any of the music publisher's equipment, so it does not cost the music publisher any money. (You might argue that they are using the CD, but then you'd be forgetting that it stopped belonging to the music publisher when some one bought it.)

I want free homes!
Lets force the homebuilders of the world to make free homes for the world!

Again, we're dealing with force and utilization of resources, which, as noted before, make this a bad analogy. However, if you were to modify it slightly, it suddenly becomes the best analogy yet. Change it thus: "Lets make copies of blueprints of homes, without paying the people who created them, and then give away the blueprints to anyone who wants them." In this case, the analogy holds. The architects, contractors, designers, etc., who create said blueprints have financial interest in controlling the right to produce copies of their work. Making an illegal copy of a set of blueprints deprives the designer of the fee that he or she would normally have received for the design. But note that it isn't the end product of the design (i.e., the building) that one pays for, rather the fee relates to the creative process, as well as the production "grunt work," that went into creating the end product. When you purchase a CD full of songs, you aren't paying for the CD or for the music itself; you're paying for the time and effort that went into creating the music.

I want everything free!
Can't the world realize that and change its ways so that I can have everything I want?!

Ah, but the world did change its ways! Even past all of the endless hype, the Internet has radically altered the course of human history. For the first time (and for better or for worse), it is possible for people of the lowest means to reach a public audience. The barrier to entry into the realm of publishing has been decimated; now any nut with an axe to grind can flood the public debate with their own rants. Government can reach out and touch citizens in new (and frequently scary) ways, while at the same time citizens can find themselves with a stronger voice in discussions with their leaders.

And yes, the Internet even has the ability to destroy inefficient business models. Just as the Industrial Revolution reduced handcrafted goods to a novelty, the Internet seems poised to convert the music industry to a smoldering slag heap of forgotten use. Please note that I'm not saying this is a good thing, or that it is a bad thing. There are plenty who whould argue that the Industrial Revolution has done more harm than good, but those arguments are largely moot because it happened, and industrialization is here to stay. The music industry needs to wake up to the fact that the Internet exists, it is not just a fad, and the changes it has brought are here to stay.

So, is the (impending) death of the music industry good or bad? It's way too early to tell. Maybe the RIAA and others are right, and their demise will be a prelude to an outright collapse of music. Today, this seems far-fetched, but with factories closing and dismissing life-long workers, haven't the Luddites been proven at least a little bit right?



Using a Macintosh is like picking your nose: everyone likes to do it, but no one will admit to it.
[ Parent ]
inefficient business models (none / 0) (#289)
by chu on Sun Feb 02, 2003 at 04:36:06 PM EST

but you forget that copyright is a recent invention designed specifically to enable businesses like record labels to exist. p2p has nothing to do with efficient business models but everything to do with making copyright unenforceable. It is a political/legal question, not a business question. Should we abandon copyright or try to enforce it? If we abandon it, should we put something else in its place? etc.  

[ Parent ]
art as a property of mankind (none / 0) (#293)
by osukaru on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 02:23:36 PM EST

copyright is a recent invention designed specifically to enable businesses like record labels to exist

You said it all. What sacred law tells me I have to give money to a record label in order to get some music? I think the issue is not exactly about copyright but about art and culture instead.

As I see it, intellectual property cannot and should not be subject to market laws, for it is not an economic product we can trade. What I am paying for when I finally decide to buy a CD is the CD itself, the medium, not the intellectual work it contains. I believe every intellectual work should be considered property of mankind. I think artists, true ones, would agree, as long as they had their bills paid in some other way, of course.

Copyrighting intellectual properties had its purpose when it was first conceived, at the beginning of the past century, if I'm not wrong. Right now its an obsolete concept IMHO and therefore renders useless. What do you think?



[ Parent ]

Copyright/Intellectual Property (none / 0) (#295)
by barkway on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 06:19:05 PM EST

Indeed you most certainly CAN trade in intellectual property (licensing and contracts). I have a Masters in Intellectual Property Law. What IP really consists of is intellectual capital and those who create it are entitled to income from the fruits of their labor, particularly as that labor provides benefits to others who otherwise would not reap the benefit. What the real issue is today is for how long creators should be compensated, using what method or model (IP valuation), and at what point should it become public property, and how to incorporate the whole issue of new technologies. Inherent in these issues are further issues of digital rights management and enforcement of those rights. Generally, I'm of the mind that intellectual property rights owners would do well to work hand in hand with consumers and business (by business I mean the general principles of supply and demand as well as those in R&D on new technologies) in resolving these issues and proposing solutions to rights management. I do think it would be a mistake to try to force new technologies/business models/methods etc to conform to laws that were created when such things were inconceivable (as many had asserted that copyright law as it was could do just fine with no amendments when it came to new technologies). I also feel many in the business and tech worlds are in a better position to inform and advise rights owners and government about how to amend or apply future laws rather than trying to force old laws to loosely apply to new technologies. The odds of this happening of course are slim however, the ideal situation would be to have laws be refined and amended to suit the new technological environment and not vice versa (or in the case of the DMCA, going completely way out in left-field-overblown in favor of rights holders in a way that Copyright was never meant to be applied or interpreted).

[ Parent ]
which came first? the chicken or the egg? (none / 0) (#292)
by Lenny on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 12:51:11 PM EST

they are not stealing the original song
When you shoplift a CD, you are not stealing the original song either; the original song is locked away somewhere.
when you counterfeit money...oh nevermind...


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
if all of your examples (5.00 / 1) (#290)
by circletimessquare on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 01:07:36 AM EST

if all of your examples only existed as digital 1s and 0s, and could be copied (=stealing?) effortlessly forever, you would be right.

as it is, saying you miss the point is putting it mildly.

electronic bits are not real world atoms

adjust your philosophy to reflect the changes wrought by the internet

C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

Life before ATM's (none / 0) (#294)
by barkway on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 05:34:30 PM EST

Actually, I DO remember life before ATM's, vividly. Guess that makes me one of the Geritol set here!

It IS in the Constitution! (none / 0) (#297)
by barkway on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 06:50:01 PM EST

It is in the Constitution: under Article I, section 8, clause 8.

The Rule of Unintended Consequences | 301 comments (268 topical, 33 editorial, 0 hidden)
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